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Sequoia Healthcare District CEO denies Grantee information to Director Hickey

Original post made by Jack Hickey, Woodside: Emerald Hills, on May 3, 2018

The Sequoia Healthcare District meets on May 9th Web Link to consider approval of $2.4 million in Community Grants to 50 non-profit organizations recommended by the Grants Committee. Grantee information includes demographics. I have been denied access to such information by CEO, Pamela Kurtzman. Her last response to my request:
“Happy to do so once things slow down a bit for us. The week of May 14th may be a bit lighter.“

That’s 5 days after the meeting at which the grants will be voted upon!

Directors Faro and Griffin, who serve on the Grants Committee, have had access to the information for many weeks. Their recommendations ignore the “fungibility” of these grants to clients living outside the district. This diminishes incremental district resident benefits to well below 50%. The board has no-established-policy regarding such accountability. A de-facto policy allows for grants which do not exceed the amount that the organization spends on District residents.

Former CEO, Lee Michelson, described that policy in an e-mail, to wit:

“We fund a great number of programs that serve both residents and non –residents. Since our funding is geographically restrictive other funding that does not place the same limitations can then be used to provide services to non –residents. We have never had a problem with that and in fact always encourage them to raise other money to cover the non- District residents. We review spending to make sure that our funds do not exceed the amount that the organization spends on District residents. In the case of Ravenswood, they spend significantly more than $700,000 a year on District residents so we are comfortable that the money that they(sic) give them is used for our residents.”

I urge readers to view the list of grantees and visit their websites. You may already contribute to some of them. You may be shocked to see where your taxes are going.

Comments (5)

Posted by Jack Hickey
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on May 4, 2018 at 4:08 pm

Jack Hickey is a registered user.

The majority of the grant recipients do not exclude clients who reside in the Sequoia Healthcare District(SHD). Funding for these agencies includes voluntary contributions from the entire community which they serve, including district residents. Benefits accrue to all members of their community, including district residents.

Essentially, what the Sequoia Healthcare District Community Grants Program does is invite these agencies to seek reimbursement for their services to district residents. That reimbursement is then used to grow their community-wide services which, in many cases, extend beyond San Mateo County. Therefore, the incremental benefit of the grants is diluted to the fraction which district residents represent as a part of the community-wide client total.

Grantees, like Second Harvest Food Bank, Meals on Wheels, Peninsula Family Services, Ravenswood Medical Clinic, Planned Parenthood, Villages of San Mateo County, Caminar, Casa, etc., which many of you support voluntarily, are examples where the incremental benefit of SHD Grants is substantially diluted.

Other grantees which function essentially within SHD boundaries, such as Redwood City Police Activities League, Sequoia YMCA, Adaptive PE at the VMSC in Redwood City, etc. Provide near 100% return on investment(ROI).

Posted by Jack Hickey
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on May 4, 2018 at 4:51 pm

Jack Hickey is a registered user.

Here's an updated link to the SHD Board Meeting packet.

Web Link

Posted by Taip
a resident of Atherton: other
on May 4, 2018 at 5:31 pm

There is always some guy trying to kill good programs, with death by a thousand (paper) cuts.

Knock it off - let these good folks support these great causes.

Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on May 4, 2018 at 5:35 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.


NOT WITH MY TAXES. If these people or programs are not located in the Sequoia health district then they are not "entitled" to any of MY tax money. It's bad enough my taxes are funding a hospital district that no longer owns a hospital and no longer has a reason to exist other than for SMC insiders to distribute largess to their buddies. It needs to stop. The district needs to be disbanded.

Posted by Jack Hickey
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on May 5, 2018 at 4:56 pm

Jack Hickey is a registered user.

Today I picked up a 3" binder full of Caring Community Grants 2018-2019 which Pamela left out for me.

"Criteria for Determining Whether to APPROVE an organization for funding" contained this:

"The program will serve an appropriate percent of district residents relative to percent of budget requested." This is explained on the district website.Web Link

Taking fungibility into account, I went through the applications with an eye towards determining how much of the grant money benefited district residents. Twenty three of the 50 applicants were below 50%. Some notables:
Ombudsman Services of San Mateo County - 23% of a $55,000 grant;
CORA - 24% of a $100,000 grant;
St. Vincent de Paul - 35% of a $100,000 grant;
Peninsula Volunteers Wheels on Meals - 35% of a $100,000 grant;
Second Harvest Food Bank had inadequate and questionable information, but I expect them to be no better than Meals on Wheels with their $100,000 grant.

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