Decision looms for nonprofits
May 15, 2009
Summit County will continue withholding payments from several nonprofits until it’s clear the budget can survive the roughly $162,000 hit.
But the recession is also squeezing the organizations that are trying to serve the neediest in the community.
Over the years, groups like Peace House, Habitat for Humanity, Summit County Friends of Animals and People’s Health Clinic have received grants from the county to operate their programs. However, payments have not been issued that nonprofits would have typically received months ago.
"We’re hurting just like the county is," Peace House Executive Director Jane Patten said. "We’re seeing a lot of cuts."
Peace House, which helps domestic-violence victims, is slated to receive $20,000 from Summit County in 2009.
"Is there something that us as organizations are doing wrong?" Patten asked the Summit County Council at a meeting Wednesday in Coalville. "I am concerned I am not keeping informed about the job I am doing."
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Summit County councilpersons said several nonprofits contacted them this week, concerned they will not receive grants from the government’s general fund.
"We have just been holding onto that money to get further financial information," Summit County Councilman John Hanrahan said. "We had been planning on making a decision on releasing the funds in June."
The delay should not reflect poorly on any groups in line for funding, interim Summit County Manager Brian Bellamy said.
"We just want to make sure that the appropriate revenue is there in the county coffers," Bellamy said.
Meanwhile, the Summit County Council will more closely scrutinize applications from nonprofits before grants get awarded.
Groups must show they are financially stable before they receive cash from the county, Hanrahan said.
Applicants should prove they are appropriately audited and have financial information from several years, Summit County Councilman Chris Robinson added.
"What we want to verify is that they’re a bona fide nonprofit to know there is no pecuniary benefit on the part of third parties," Robinson said. "Basically, everybody does that anyway. So it’s not an onerous burden."
More often, nonprofits are asked to provide "transparency and accountability" when applying for grants, Patten explained.
"The reason I am here is to support what you are asking of nonprofits," Patten told the County Council. "I too think it’s important to have these past financial statements."
Groups may be required to submit applications by Oct. 1 if a policy for nonprofits is approved by the county.
Recipients also must report after about how the money was spent.
"We’re going to take a hard look at how they spend the money," Bellamy said.
Robinson would like nonprofits to provide bylaws and articles to prove groups are not shams.
"So there is no backdoor way that somehow this is for-profit," Robinson said.
Nonprofits that could receive money this year include:
Recycle Utah — $24,000
Park City Leadership — $10,000
Peace House — $20,000
Community Action — $7,500
Eccles Center for the Performing Arts — $10,000
Habitat for Humanity — $15,000
Mountainland Resource Conservation and Development area — $4,000
Park City Community Outreach Center — $2,500
Green building initiative — $5,000
People’s Health Clinic — $30,000
Summit Wasatch Counties Children’s Justice Center — $12,000
Summit County Friends of Animals — $5,000
Summit Land Conservancy — $8,000