Park City Rotary Club boosts Summit County nonprofits | ParkRecord.com

Park City Rotary Club boosts Summit County nonprofits

Application process open for annual grant program

Representatives from nonprofits throughout Summit County gather during an event celebrating their efforts put on by the Park City Rotary Club. The event kicked off the Rotary Clubs annual grant program, which provides several nonprofits with small donations.

Elissa Aten knows as well as anybody that it's not easy to run a small nonprofit organization.

She is a co-founder of Park City READS, a group that advocates for students with dyslexia and other reading disabilities. With an all-volunteer staff and limited backing, the organization works hard to stretch its resources as far as possible.

That's why it was so exciting to her last summer when the nonprofit received a small donation as part of the Park City Rotary Club's annual grant program. Park City READS used the money to help foster a youth group in which older students with dyslexia mentor younger children who are struggling to read. Aten said the ultimate success of the initiative, which the nonprofit offered to families at no cost, wouldn't have been possible without the grant.

"Knowing we're in a community that has organizations like the Rotary Club that support the youth in our town and the nonprofits in our town just gives a more community feeling to all the work that we do," she said. "We know we have partners."

The Park City READS grant was one of 23 the Rotary Club distributed last year. And it's gearing up to do it again. The Rotarians kicked off the 2017 grant application process June 20 with an event aimed at celebrating Summit County's nonprofits.

Guillermo Zelaya, a member of the Rotary Club's grant committee, said Rotarians give back to the community in several ways, but the grant program is one of the most critical. It aims to help nonprofits that have important missions but don't have access to large streams of funding.

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"We live here in the community and we work here," he said. "We want the community to thrive, and we want the nonprofits to feel like they have support. A lot of these nonprofits have really good ideas, and their purpose is to help somebody in need, so they really need funding for that.

"It's a misconception that these nonprofits have a lot of money," he added. "Park City has a lot of second-home owners, but these nonprofits don't see that money."

Grants range from $500 to $1,500, and the Rotary Club aims to award one to each nonprofit that applies and meets its criteria, Zelaya said. It's rewarding to check back in with the nonprofits later and see what they've accomplished, he said.

"We understand that our little donation is not huge," he said. "But it makes a little impact for them. It's not going to do a lot, maybe, for a nonprofit with a lot of funding sources, but for smaller ones it makes a difference."

It certainly did for Park City READS, Aten said.

"We don't have a paid executive director," she said. "We don't charge any membership fees. So that money was a large sum for us to receive as a grant."

The Park City Rotary Club is accepting grant applications from nonprofits through July 30. Organizations that apply must be registered as a nonprofit, operate on an annual budget of less than $500,000, intend to use the grant in Summit County and demonstrate the impact of the grant. Nonprofits can apply on the Rotary Club's website, parkcityrotary.com