The Tualatin City Council is determined to keep its limited nonprofit grant money as close to home as possible this year.
There is just $40,000 in the 2020 city budget allocated for this purpose, and an end to the ongoing economic difficulties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic is nowhere in sight. With that in mind, City Councilors approved its list of grant recipients at their Sept. 28 meeting.
“Last year was a different year than this year,” Councilor Maria Reyes said at a Sept. 14 workshop, where the issue was first discussed. “So I don’t disagree with the promises we made, but I want to focus on helping Tualatin and the nonprofits that are based out of Tualatin.”
That sentiment found strong support among the council, which chose to support local groups such as Tualatin High School MEChA which will receive $2,000 in funding this year. Other new recipients will include the Borland Free Clinic, which provides health care services for low-income patients, With Love, which supports foster children, and The Foundation for Tigard Tualatin Schools.
Past recipients that operate on a wider basis, including the Community Action Organization, will still receive city money. But the focus this year is on groups that operate largely within the local community.
“I feel like that for some nonprofits, $5,000 would impact them tremendously and help a lot of people in the community, and for others it would be a drop in the bucket,” Reyes said.
Councilor Paul Morrison pointed out that even small grants would make a large difference to small groups like The Foundation for Tigard Tualatin Schools.
“There is a heavy emphasis on a couple of schools, and one of them is Bridgeport Elementary,” Morrison said. “And I would say that knowing them, they would be extremely happy even with a thousand dollars.”
Morrison would also like to see the council significantly increase grant funding in coming years.
“We’d all like to see more go to those organizations, and we’re unable to do it,” he told his colleagues.