City Council votes to deny proposal on how Evansville funds nonprofits

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EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WEHT) — UPDATE 10:17 P.M — After weeks of discussion and years of consideration, the Evansville City Council voted down an ordinance and a resolution that sought to change the way nonprofits apply for grants.

“For the past few terms, there have been a couple of us up here that have questioned the transparency of the process,” said Councilman Jonathan Weaver.

“We’re just very happy with the outcome, hopefully this will start more conversations,” said Ashley Jordan with the Evansville African American Museum.

The ordinance proposed by Councilman Jonathan Weaver and backed by Councilwoman Missy Mosby would have created a new committee that would review applications and limit the nonprofits who received grants to three specific groups; those helping the homeless, children and the elderly.

“There’s not a committee, there isn’t any type of process that we’re aware of and it just isn’t fair that certain groups are being hand picked and given money,” said Councilwoman Missy Mosby.

Instead, the nonprofit grant selection process will be open to everyone.

“We were not effected by the budget cuts but we are also supporting in solidarity our sister sites like the Evansville Philharmonic Orchestra, the Evansville History Museum and CMOE as well because the reality is what effects one, effects us all indirectly. This could have been us, easily,” said Jordan.

“What we are able to do with that funding is really remarkable. The arts programs has about 70 programs a year and we serve roughly 20 thousand people through these programs,” said Anne McKim with the Arts Council of Southwest Indiana.

Council also voted down a resolution from Councilman Justin Elpers. The nonbinding resolution would have reduced the amount of money in the budget allocated for nonprofit grants, eliminating it from the City’s budget all together in three years.

“A site like ours, to say that we could just make it by ourselves is not a reality. We need the support of our city, we need the support of corporations and other stakeholders,” said Jordan.

“I think that the City Council made very good decisions in order to best serve the most people in our community,” said McKim.

Prior to the meeting, Mayor Winnecke told Eyewitness News he stands by his previous statements that called the new ordinance, “an overreach by the City Council,” again stating he felt the current process is transparent.

Winnecke says they will begin the nonprofit grant selection process for 2021 this May.

UPDATE 6:14 P.M. – The council voted 5-4 to deny the amendment proposed by Weaver. Eyewitness News’ Grace Hayba will have more on this story tonight.

Original story:

EVANSVILLE, Ind (WEHT) Evansville City Council is expected to vote on a new proposal that would change the way grants are given to nonprofits.

Councilman Jonathan Weaver’s proposal would change the nonprofit grant funding is processed and is expected to be a hot topic of conversation.

The proposal aims to focus grants to only groups that help the homeless, children and the elderly.

After the council’s last meeting, Council President Alex Burton took to twitter to call the proposal “irresponsible, lousy and irrational.”

Mayor Lloyd Winnecke also says he stands by his belief that the current process doesn’t need to change.

Councilman Justin Elpers is also expected to introduce a new resolution Monday night that would reduce the amount of money in the budget allocated for nonprofit grants over the next three years.

Both councilman Weaver’s proposal and the resolution from Elpers will be voted on Monday evening.

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(This story was originally published on March 9, 2020)

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