The Spokane Valley City Council approved more than $180,000 in funds to help more than a dozen nonprofits expand their reach and serve their community.
Twenty agencies asked for more than $700,000 in funding from Spokane Valley, and the city had $182,000 to spend.
Of the 13 applicants that did receive money, all were awarded significantly less than they applied for. Last year, 11 agencies applied for the same amount of money.
During the Tuesday night meeting, City Councilman Ben Wick said the city has developed an algorithm to keep the decision data-driven and keep politics out of the process, but it was still difficult for council members to decide.
“I wish we could fully fund everybody, but we can’t,” Wick said.
The largest recipient of city funds was Spokane Valley Partners, a food and clothing bank that requested $75,000 and received $39,789. Valleyfest received the second-highest award, getting about $28,000 of the $100,000 it requested. The Spokane Valley Arts Council received the third-highest award, receiving $25,500 of its $175,000 request.
Every other agency received about $15,000 or less.
According to the Spokane Valley Partners’ application, the money it received will be used to offset the cost of facilities, equipment and support systems. Two-thirds of the population the food bank serves are children or elderly. The food bank also operates a food express delivery program to 110 seniors who do not leave their homes. The food bank also helps with prescription costs, home projects and utility emergencies.
Cal Coblentz, Spokane Valley Partners CEO, said in a statement that the award showed the city values the needs of Spokane Valley’s most vulnerable: students, families and the homeless.
“We’re playing an increased role to meet the demands of poverty in our city,” he said. “We see an increased need within the schools, an increased need to answer homelessness and an increased need to help struggling families who are just one emergency away from disaster.”
Valleyfest is an annual family-oriented event at the end of September. This year’s celebration was the three-day festival’s 30th anniversary.
Peggy Doering, executive director of Valleyfest, said the event received less than its $49,000 grant last year, but closer to what they usually receive.
“I’m very appreciative of their support,” Doering said. “I know there’s a lot of decisions to be made and limited finances.”
Doering said the smaller grant award may reduce how much marketing Valleyfest is able to do, but it shouldn’t be a big hit to the actual event next fall.
“With every nonprofit, you learn to adjust your budget,” she said. “We’ll just be looking for more sponsors and more collaborations.”
According to the Spokane Valley Arts Council’s application, it isan all-volunteer organization that plans to use the money to assist with administrative costs and the production of several bronze sculptures.
Marc McIntosh, the council’s president, said he won’t know how the nonprofit’s budget will be impacted by the award until it gets the results from its art-auction fundraiser earlier this month.
The other nonprofits and economic development groups selected for city funding were Widows Might; the JAKT Foundation, which coordinates the farmers market and sponsors CRAVE and Oktoberfest; Greater Spokane County Meals on Wheels; Family Promise; Spokane Valley Heritage Museum; NAOMI; Teen and Kid Closet; Spokane Center for Independent Living; Spokane Valley Summer Theatre; and Elevations, which supports therapy for children with special needs.
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