Panel supports nonprofit awards
$1.5M from county coffers recommended to be disbursed among 85 organizations
Substance abuse programs, elderly transportation, domestic violence and Native Hawaiian health care took top billing Tuesday as a Hawaii County Council committee recommended disbursing $1.5 million to 85 community nonprofits.
The Committee on Human Services and Social Services approved the recommendations, 8-0, with Puna Councilwoman Jen Ruggles absent. The money now goes into the annual budget to be voted on by the council next month.
Nonprofits compete for the awards and are required to submit reports on how the money was used. The county charter mandates the council give $1 million annually, but the mayor and council have awarded $1.5 million in recent years.
A committee chaired by South Kona/ Ka‘u Councilwoman Maile David,
along with Hilo Councilwoman Sue Lee Loy, North Kona Councilwoman Karen Eoff and Kohala Councilman Tim Richards sifted through 145 eligible applications totaling $6.5 million in requests to reduce the awards to the available funds.
Some applicants submitted separate applications for several programs. Awards were recommended for all but six applicants.
“Although amounts requested by organizations far exceeded recommended award amounts, all applicants expressed their understanding and conveyed their determination to continue providing services to supplement the needs of our island communities and increasing population,” David said.
Lee Loy praised the work nonprofits do in the community, especially with the most vulnerable residents.
“These nonprofits are touching them at the grass-roots level,” Lee Loy said. “These nonprofits are touching them every single day.”
In addition to health and social services programs, grant winners also provide legal and mediation services, arts, music and history programs and spay and neuter services for feral cats.
“It isn’t the largest grant we seek out, but it is the most important because it’s so consistent,” said Joy Holland, representing the Kona Historical Society.
The organization was recommended to receive $5,875 of the $20,000 it requested. The money will be used for living history activities and community education programs.
“Our vision is to build a resilient community through the universal language of art,” said Nidhi Chabora, representing Self Discovery Through Art.
The group was recommended to be awarded $3,750 of the $30,000 it requested.
Kona Councilman Dru Kanuha thanked all the applicants for the work they do in the community.
“I know it’s not everything you guys could have gotten,” Kanuha said, “but even a small amount helps.”