The Kodiak Island Borough Assembly had the opportunity to review annual funding for area nonprofits Thursday, with more than $350,000 to distribute among 29 community organizations. Unfortunately, requests outstripped funding by about $50,000, leaving some worthy causes without support from borough funding this year.
Nonprofit leaders attended the assembly meeting to highlight the good they do in the community and thank the borough for continuing support.
Ken Reinke, director of Threshold Services, which employs disabled people in a community recycling program, thanked the borough for keeping nonprofit funding level in a year when other programs and services were cut to achieve a balanced budget.
“It would seem like an easy place to slash and you didn’t do that,” Keinke said. “I think that’s courageous.”
Reinke said Threshold continues to make improvements and pointed to state funding of a capital project for Threshold recently signed into law.
“We are going to streamline and make recycling in Kodiak more obtainable,” he said. “We’re going to start a volunteer program and even though I’ve only whispered that I’m going to do this, I’ve already got people asking about what the volunteer positions look like.”
Nonprofit funding for Threshold Services is expected to hold steady at $10,300 for the new fiscal year.
Brother Francis Shelter director Monte Hawver thanked the assembly for continuing 20 years of funding the homeless shelter.
“I’m quite sure that without the borough support there wouldn’t be a Brother Francis Shelter. Kodiak and people would still be freezing to death in the wintertime and the mountainside would be covered with tents and tarps,” Hawver said.
The assembly currently plans to fund the shelter with $50,000 over the next year.
Speaking on behalf of the Kodiak Senor Center and the Kodiak Area Transit System (KATS) nonprofits, David Blacketer said, “We are delivering more meals to homes, having more meals at the senior center, providing more services through our agency. And our KATS program, ridership is up.”
Even with these increased services, the Kodiak Senior Center and the transit system held their funding requests steady, at $35,000 and $15,000.
With the assembly budgeting flat funding for local nonprofits, any organization making an application which did not receive funding last year did not find support from the assembly Thursday.
These organizations included Kodiak Island Search and Rescue, the Kodiak Football League, the Kodiak Public Library Association and the Kodiak Island Sportsman Association.
Assembly member Judy Fulp argued for funding the Kodiak Football League with about $800 in unallocated funds. She said while the Kodiak Football League had been funded in the past, they had lost funding due to a late application.
But assembly member Louise Stutes said very few boroughs fund a football league and the league had funding sources elsewhere. Instead, Stutes supported a suggestion that the unallocated money boost funding for the Kodiak Soil and Water Conservation District.
KMXT general manager Mike Wall, representing a collection of local nonprofit organizations including Kodiak Public Broadcasting and the Kodiak Arts Council, asked the assembly if there was another way to go about funding nonprofits that could include all of the requesting organizations using some formula to determine funding.
“I find myself in a really odd position in saying I don’t want to take money away from another group because there’s not enough to go around with all of the requests that you have before you,” Wall said.
He said the nonprofit community is ready to work with the borough to create a system that doesn’t pit the merits of one nonprofit organization against another for funding.