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Local groups receive city funding

City council approves community grants

Each year, the city of West Linn grants funding to various community groups through its Citizens' Budget Committee.

The committee met on April 24 to review submitted applications and grant requests. The committee has since narrowed down the list and presented its recommendations to the city council for its approval at its June 11 meeting.

The committee recommended the council to award 16 organizations $21,004 in funding this year.

Community organizations are asked to submit a standardized form so all requests can be similarly evaluated during the community grant allocation process.

The grant request form is designed for community-based organizations that are interested in receiving grant funding for specific, planned events and activities occurring between July and June of the coming year. Although the city budgets on a biennial (two-year) basis, the request must be submitted for each fiscal year.

Submitted applications are evaluated by the citizen members of the Citizens' Budget Committee. This group considers the quantity, quality and content of applications received each year; determines how best to allocate available funding; and develops its recommendations.

This committee refined this year's guiding principles, evaluating requests as follows:

1. Priority was given to organizations or causes that directly benefit West Linn residents.

2. A complete, descriptive and thorough application was submitted.

3. Transparency was present as to exactly what funds would be used for and who would benefit.

4. No funding was allocated for advertising or promotion.

5. No funding was allocated to neighborhood associations.

6. No funding was allocated for purely fundraising types of events or requests related to political advocacy.

7. Any undesignated balance left in the 'community grants' account can be used by the parks department to assist with other community organizations needing financial assistance during the fiscal year that did not complete an application or receive full funding.

This year's 21 submitted grant requests totaled $57,699; however, just $22,300 in funding was available. The committee recommended awarding a total of $21,004, leaving $1,296 undesignated in the reserve account.

The grant recommendations are as follows:

West Linn Arts Festival: $750;

AWOL Dance Collective: $750;

West Linn Community Chorus: $1,000;

West Linn Lions Club: $1,854;

West Linn Community Task Force: $1,200;

West Linn Food Pantry: $4,000;

Friends of Maddax Woods: $400;

Friends of the Robinwood Station: $2,200;

Friends of the McLean House: $500;

Willamette Falls Heritage Foundation: $1,000;

Willamette Living History Committee: $1,000;

Clackamas Women's Services: $2,000;

Happy Trails Riding Center: $1,500;

July Fourth fireworks event: $1,500;

Meridian Park Medical Foundation: $750;

MOMS Club of West Linn: $500.

Only five of the applicants received their full requested amounts: the Lions, the Friends of Maddax Woods, the heritage foundation, the Willamette Living History Committee and Happy Trails Riding Center.

'I think this is a great opportunity to have these grant funds,' Council President Jenni Tan said. 'I'm very happy with this program.'

Councilor Mike Jones and Mayor John Kovash agreed that all the applications were worthy of funding and thanked the committee for doing a good job.

Five grant requests were denied altogether. The Historic Willamette Main Street program asked for $1,000, St. Vincent de Paul asked for $750, Willamette Christian Church asked for $14,800, the West Linn Centennial Planning Committee asked for $2,500 and the West Linn Chamber of Commerce asked for $2,000.

According to a staff report, Willamette Christian Church's request for $14,800 for its new teen center was denied because the committee felt it was too early to award funding, as members wanted to see more details about the proposed program as well as who the church would be partnering with (e.g., local businesses or the school district).

The other four applicants were excluded, as they seemed to be more appropriately funded by other means, such as local businesses, according to the report.

Tan recused herself from the vote, as she serves on the board of Clackamas Women's Services, which was designated to receive a grant.

Last year, the committee approved $19,700 in grants; it approved $23,750 the year prior to that.

For more information on the community grant program, visit westlinnoregon.gov/finance/community-grant-applications-now-available-0.