News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

City Council distributes grants

Sisters City Council distributed $38,185 among 23 nonprofits and other entities that provide programs and services in the Sisters area. Community Grants are awarded for the purpose of meeting essential needs, educational enrichment, recreational opportunities and other miscellaneous community needs.

There were 25 applicants requesting $94,000. Two were deemed not to meet the award criteria. The City had budgeted $40,000 for FY2020-21 grant funds. The unallocated $1,815 will be available for possible special needs that may arise during the fiscal year.

Deliberations among Council members addressed concerns of Councilor Richard Esterman that several of the requests, in his view, qualified as money for operating expenses, not an approved use.

In evaluating requests for funds, the Council considers: the requesting organization’s history of success; the organizational and financial stability of the requesting organization; the number and types of community members served by the request; the ability to measure and track the effectiveness of the project or service; and grant funds will not be used for travel, budget deficits, or for routine operating expenses.

What qualifies as operating expenses is not clearly spelled out. Councilors thought that given the unusual circumstances of organizations being impacted by COVID-19, they would allow for leniency in funding this year and agreed to clarify the requirements prior to next year’s awards.

The City’s ability to fund the grants from year-to-year depends on the City’s financial resources available when the budget committee establishes the budget for the next fiscal year. This year’s $40,000 was twice the amount allocated in FY2019-20.


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