Debate over Evansville nonprofit grants continues

Local

EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WEHT) — The debate over whether or not the process to allocate grants to nonprofits in the City of Evansville should change, continued at the Evansville City Council Meeting.

Councilman Jonathan Weaver is proposing nonprofit grants be focused to groups related to three groups: those helping the homeless, children and the elderly. This would mean some groups, like the Evansville Philharmonic Orchestra and the Vanderburgh Humane Society wouldn’t be receiving the same financial support, if any, they’ve received in the past.

“The councilman has been a member of this body for a number of years and I don’t understand why he doesn’t understand the process. We’ve been in multiple meetings with him over the years in his role as the finance chair and he’s never expressed that concern. We feel it is a very transparent process,” said Mayor Lloyd Winnecke.

“I saw the ordinance that was coming up to be read and I thought, you know, I don’t think the process is fair,” said Jessica Angelique with Foster Care in the U.S. Inc. “Having the money available to our nonprofit to be able to do what we do and do more of it on a larger scale and larger capacity, it means opportunity. That means we reach more youth who are on the streets, that means we reach more foster youth who are transitioning out and who just fall through the cracks.”

“When we heard it wasn’t a transparent process, alarm bells went off because that’s completely not true. If you go through the list of organizations you have everything from small to the large ones,” said Deputy Mayor Steve Schaefer.

The debate didn’t stop at the end of the meeting. City council president Alex Burton calling Weaver’s proposal “irresponsible, lousy and irrational,” on social media. Weaver responding, claiming Burton should support the idea. Weaver also stated Burton takes taxpayers money through the school corporation.

Currently, city officials estimate nonprofit grants account for $175,000 out of a $400,000,000 city budget.

The proposal’s second reading and public comment will take place at the next city council meeting on March 9th. The meetings begin at 5:30 p.m. and are open to the public.

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(This story was originally published on Feb. 24, 2020)

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