Menlo Park council gives $275,000 to local nonprofits


Twenty-five nonprofits that serve people in Menlo Park will collect a combined $275,000 from the city to fund services after the Menlo Park City Council voted unanimously on Dec. 4 to approve a spending plan for its community funding program. Council member Rich Cline was absent.

Recipients and amounts are as follows: $35,000 to StarVista; $25,000 to the Peninsula Conflict Resolution Center; $20,000 to Acknowledge Alliance and Peninsula Volunteers, Inc.; $17,500 to the Human Investment Project and LifeMoves; $15,000 to the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Peninsula; $10,000 to the Center for Independence of Individuals with Disabilities, Family Connections, JobTrain, Ravenswood Education Foundation, Rebuilding Together Peninsula, Samaritan House, and the Vista Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired; $8,000 to the Riekes Center for Human Enhancement and Youth Community Service; $7,500 to Community Overcome Relationship Abuse (CORA) and Pathways Home Health & Hospice; $6,000 to the Legal Aid Society of San Mateo County and Project WeHOPE; $5,000 to Nuestra Casa de East Palo Alto; $3,000 to the Service League of San Mateo County, $2,000 to Ombudsman Services of San Mateo County, Inc.; $1,500 to San Mateo County Jobs for Youth; and $500 to My New Red Shoes.

A subcommittee made up of council members Kirsten Keith and Catherine Carlton evaluated funding requests from 31 local nonprofits asking for a collective $564,717 in funding, according to a staff report.

The council could spend no more than 1.7 percent of the city's projected general fund property tax revenue on the requests, which based on the 2018-19 adopted budget put the maximum at $390,000.

The funding requests were reviewed and ranked on weighted criteria such as program results, impacts on the Menlo Park community, the percent of the budget spent on administrative overhead, whether the organization had received previous funding, what the community's need is for the service, whether it meets a unique need compared to other local nonprofits, and whether it aligns with the council's goals, a staff report noted.

Not every proposal received funding. Six did not: Able Works, Fresh Approach, Home and Hope, Life Steps Foundation, Inc., Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center, and The Crime Prevention Narcotics and Drugs Education Center. According to staff, those agencies were not recommend for funding because of a lack of a proven track record with Menlo Park residents, duplication of services, or the lack of a financial audit.

The subcommittee recommended the two largest grants be $35,000 to StarVista for youth counseling services at Menlo-Atherton High School and $25,000 to Peninsula Conflict Resolution Center for a youth restorative justice program and a leadership program that would work with the Belle Haven School and library.


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