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ommittee set to award $319K to 24 social services nonprofits, formal hearing on May 28



At its meeting last Thursday, Bloomington’s Jack Hopkins social services funding committee settled on a total of $318,795 in funding for requests from 24 different nonprofits.

The formal hearing and announcement of the grant awards is scheduled for May 28.

The committee started the process a few weeks ago, by considering a total of $822,971 in requests from 37 different non-profits. At an early-May meeting, the six-member committee, made up of four councilmembers and two other citizens, eliminated the applications of seven nonprofits, totaling $182,478.

The committee still had choices to make last Thursday, about how to spread $311,000 of general fund money across $640,493 of requests. As councilmember Matt Flaherty put it at the start of Thursday’s meeting, every nonprofit’s request would need to be cut by an average of half the amount of the request.

The committee didn’t take an across-the-board approach to evaluating the requests. Instead, to prepare for the meeting, committee members had each made their own recommended individual allocations to each of the remaining agencies.

Their work on Thursday, during the Zoom video-conferenced meeting, was based on a screen-shared spreadsheet that displayed the nonprofit’s name, a brief project description, the amount of the request, and the average of the six recommendations from committee members.

In a handful of cases, the verdict of the committee members was unanimous. Either the average of individual recommendations was for the full amount of the request or it was zero. Those were dispatched without debate.

A few other cases also generated little controversy, because they involved a single committee member as an outlier. That is, only one committee member recommended any funding at all while others recommended zero, or all recommended full funding except for one. Whoever the outlier was in those instances didn’t force the committee into protracted deliberations, and the outcome was either full funding or zero funding.

The outcome was that 10 of the 34 total applicants got their full requested amount. But 13 applicants weren’t funded at all.

Those receiving full funding were: Hoosier Hills Food Bank, South Central Community Action Program, HealthNet Bloomington Health Center, St. Vincent dePaul Society, Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky, El Centro Comunal Latino, Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard, Community Kitchen of Monroe County, Meals of Wheels, and Courage to Change Sober Living.

What needed two hours of meeting time was sorting out the allocations that were made somewhere in the middle. [For nonprofits interested in how the deliberations on their specific application went, the YouTube version of the committee’s deliberations includes a searchable transcript, which can be used to start the video playing at the exact spot where a search term is found.]

Generally the committee’s approach was not to make some arbitrary percentage allocation. Instead, they tried to provide some rationale for a dollar amount, based on the specific items in the request that could be paid for with partial funding.

An example of that was the committee’s allocation of $20,000 to Pantry 279, which was about 23 percent of the nonprofit’s $88,000 request. The amount was not based on a percentage, but rather on the $20,000 in Pantry 279’s application to pay for an enclosed cargo truck that would let the group get food from other sources.

For items in a nonprofit’s request that depended on more funding, in addition to the amount the Jack Hopkins committee was considering, a factor weighed by the committee was whether the nonprofit would be able to spend the committee’s allocation by the end of the year. Expenditure by year’s end is a requirement of the funding. If it’s not spent, it goes back to the city.

Unspent money from last year factored into the committee’s total allocations this year. The committee is asking the administration to bring forward an additional appropriation ordinance to the city council, which would tap the $8,114 that remained unspent from last year’s allocation.

That’s because by the end of Thursday’s meeting, the total amount settled on by the committee for allocation was $318,795, more than the $311,000 general fund allocation in the 2020 budget.

The additional appropriation would make up the $7,795 difference.

The formal hearing and announcement of the Jack Hopkins funding allocations is scheduled for May 28 at 6:30 p.m.

The basic criteria for Jack Hopkins social services funding were first written down in a 1993 letter  by councilmember Jack Hopkins, after whom the fund was named. The resolution that named the fund after Hopkins, who was a professor at the Indiana University’s public and environmental affairs, was approved by the city council in 2002, the month after Hopkins died.

The complete set of applications for 2020 Jack Hopkins grant is available in the May 4, 2020 meeting packet.

Unofficial 2020 Jack Hopkins Allocations

Agency May 21 Amnt Amnt Asked Percent of Ask
Hoosier Hills Food Bank $30,000 $30,000 100%
South Central Community Action Program $25,000 $25,000 100%
HealthNet Bloomington Health Center $19,590 $19,590 100%
St Vincent dePaul Society $15,000 $15,000 100%
Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky $11,134 $11,134 100%
El Centro Comunal Latino $10,000 $10,000 100%
Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard $10,000 $10,000 100%
Community Kitchen of Monroe County $8,113 $8,113 100%
Meals of Wheels $7,260 $7,260 100%
Courage to Change Sober Living $6,000 $6,000 100%
Catholic Charities Bloomington $20,278 $22,666 89.46%
Monroe County United Ministries $16,000 $24,229 66.04%
Shalom Center $21,000 $32,434 64.75%
Boys & Girls Club $15,000 $24,000 62.50%
New Leaf – New Life $9,000 $15,747 57.15%
Life Designs $8,800 $16,813 52.34%
Amethyst House $18,000 $34,500 52.17%
Wheeler Mission $17,000 $32,688 52.01%
New Hope for Families $13,000 $25,000 52%
Middle Way House $3,000 $6,000 50%
All Options Pregnancy Resource Center $4,000 $12,000 33.33%
Habitat for Humanity of Monroe County $10,000 $30,760 32.51%
Pantry 279 $20,000 $88,000 22.73%
Monroe County CASA $1,620 $9,637 16.81%
American Red Cross of Southeast Indiana $0 $15,000 0%
City Church for All Nations $0 $15,000 0%
El Shadday and I, Inc $0 $62,829 0%
Foundation of the Monroe County Community Schools $0 $15,000 0%
Human Delta (South Bend Code School) $0 $36,000 0%
Monroe County Health Department $0 $8,649 0%
Safe Families for Children in Monroe County $0 $30,000 0%
Artisan Alley $0 $3,000 0%
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Indiana $0 $30,000 0%
Bloomington Cooperative Living Inc $0 $7,000 0%
Centerstone $0 $44,750 0%
Made up Mind, Inc $0 $18,900 0%
New Hope for Families and Catholic Charities $0 $20,273 0%

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