$150,000 in grants given out by county

Some organizations got nothing, few got everything

The Gunnison Board of County Commissioners set to work on Tuesday, November 25, distributing $150,000 in grants from its general fund to community-based organizations around the county.



Despite the county’s tight budget and cutbacks meant to meet the current economic challenges, the amount of money doled out this year was the same as it was last year.
In all, 37 grants were awarded, and while only four organizations that applied for a grant were completely denied, only four organizations got the full amount they requested.
As the commissioners tried to provide nearly what was needed, many of the grants given out were only a fraction of the amount applied for. Six Points got $12,000 of the $14,000 they were looking for, but the Crested Butte Nordic Council only got $4,000, when they asked for $15,000.
After deliberating over the 48 applications at meetings spanning two days, the commissioners moved through the list in under an hour on November 25. Chairperson Hap Channell was not present for the final decision, although his choices for the distribution were recorded and considered.
Immediately, commissioners Jim Starr and Paula Swenson set the tone for the session, awarding $9,000 for the first $24,000 in grants that were requested.
The programs that ended up being denied grant funding were the Carbondale and Rural Fire Protection District, which had applied for a grant of more than $9,000; the Crested Butte Music Festival that missed out on $1,000; the Pitkin Historical Society; and the Crested Butte School of Dance, which Swenson said “operates in many ways like a for-profit.”
All of the grant requests that were fully funded totaled $8,500, including those for the Gunnison High School food court, Hospice of the Gunnison Valley, Gunnison Safe Ride and the Paradise Animal Welfare Shelter.
Some of the decisions to be made about the largest requests were deferred to a later discussion about spending from the commissioner’s discretionary fund or after meeting with another entity, including one request for more than $62,000 from the Gunnison Valley Food Pantry.
Other grants were awarded with stipulations, such as the $2,000 going to the Crested Butte Center for the Arts that can be used only to purchase computer equipment.
In the end, the commissioners used all of the money that had been budgeted for grants. The funds will be awarded as they are needed after the beginning of the next budget cycle in January.

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