Approving funding for local nonprofits in the past has been a worthwhile albeit “bumpy” process for the Hamilton County Council, according to councilor Sue Maki.
That’s why Maki and several other councilors are working to establish a new procedure for nonprofits that will streamline the process.
“It’s been frustrating for the nonprofits, frustrating for the council members and for people who watch or attend the meetings because it is somewhat disjointed,” Maki said. “It’s because there haven’t been clear goals established by the council, and that’s no fault of any one person. It just evolved that way.”
The process would outline the goals of what types of organizations the council hoped to fund. There are three pillars the council will focus on: human services, quality of life and education. Eligible nonprofits must be a 501(c)3 based in Hamilton County and serve all county residents.
“We are working through it so it’s really clear for everyone,” Maki said. “I’m sure nonprofits appreciate it because nothing is more frustrating than to put together a proposal and come before the council and not get funded.”
Another part of the new process is limiting the number of times an organization can receive general operating funds.
“We will support organizations that meet our goals for operating funds for a couple years, but it’s not indefinite,” Maki said. “We are more of a project-based initiative.”
Maki said in the past, some nonprofits have relied on council funding to continue to exist.
“It’s not that they’re not a well-run organization, but their model has been to rely on us, the county council, and sometimes it’s a significant part of their budget,” Maki said.
The council is scheduled to vote on which nonprofits receive funding in August. Nonprofits provide the application and information in June.
Make said the council eventually wants to clearly state guidelines for the funding process on its website, but that may not happen until the 2022 process.
“Our county is very blessed with so many organizations, and we wish we could fund quite a bit or all of them, but we don’t have those resources, so we have to do what is needed,” Maki said. “We have to support the organizations who support the basic needs of our community.”
In 2020, the council granted $419,815 to nonprofits for 2021.
For more, visit hamiltoncounty.in.gov.