Covid-19 considered when deciding this year's city grants

Apr 14, 2020

In this age of Covid-19, even decisions made by the Homer Foundation are taking the pandemic into consideration. The organization last week announced the grants awarded through the City of Homer’s Grant Program to the 13 local nonprofits that applied this year, totaling $39,500.
    While the amount is about $4,000 less than the 20-year average, it is in line with recent years’ grants, according to Homer Foundation Executive Director Mike Miller.
    Miller said the grant committee, made up of three Homer Foundation members and two community members, provided larger awards to organizations that could put that money to immediate use, while providing smaller awards to organizations that mostly use the funds for leveraging other monies.
    “This sort of happened as the COVID-19 started ramping up. And I think there was a lot of focus by the Committee on, you know, there's going to be some challenges and we need to help those nonprofits out who are going to be providing services,” he said.
    Miller says the Homer Foundation has worked with the City of Homer to administer its yearly grants for 20 years now.
     “We have a great relationship with the city of Homer. This really saves them a lot of time. Most communities provide something to their nonprofit, but to each individual organization is a small amount of money, but it takes a lot of time to do it. So, you know, we're glad we can help the council out that way,” he said. “And we appreciate their generosity towards the community and working with us to help all these nonprofits to do so much for our citizens.”
    In the past 19 years the city grants program has directed $830,000 to nonprofits operating in Homer. This year the city budgeted $25,000 for the grants. The total was added to with funds from Kachemak City and the City of Homer’s endowment fund. The Homer Foundation, Miller said, “rounded the grant out to a nice round number,” with its contribution.
    In announcing the grants, the Homer Foundation pointed out that the 13 selected organizations employ 88 people with a payroll of over $2.8 million. Together they generate $5.9 million in revenue, including $2.4 million in new money that comes into Homer from state, federal and othe foundation grants. Miller said those nonprofits offer a lot of services for vulnerable individuals who would fall by the wayside otherwise.
    “You know, the nonprofit sector is a level across the state of Alaska really, and in Homer, as well, (where) it is a much larger portion of the economy than a lot of people realize. There's a lot of basic services that happen that wouldn't happen without the nonprofit community,” he said. “So we are a significant portion of the, of the Homer community and we're glad that we are.”
    Grantees receiving $5,700 this year include Homer Community Food Pantry, Homer Farmers Market, Hospice of Homer, Kachemak Bay Family Planning Clinic, and public radio KBBI. The Bunnell Street Gallery, Homer Hockey Association and the Nordic Ski Club each were awarded $2,000, while the Center for Alaska Coastal Studies, Cook Inletkeeper, Homer Council on the Arts, Kachemak Heritage Land Trust, and SPROUT, each will receive $1,000.