On Wednesday night, the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council used what will probably be its last opportunity to meet online before returning to in-person meetings (at least for a few months) to take care of some urgent administrative and funding business. The agenda included discussions of the Council’s website, and the appointment of a new board member – Selene Betancourt – to the seat representing the Country Club Heights neighborhood. Of greater public interest, though, the meeting also included votes on the GWNC’s latest round of Neighborhood Purpose Grants, which provide funding to local schools and 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations for projects that serve the GWNC area. (Each of the city’s 99 Neighborhood Councils is encouraged to use a portion of its city-provided budget each year to fund non-profit community projects that directly benefit its stakeholders, and the NPG program was created to facilitate that process.)
Representing the Ad Hoc NPG Committee at the meeting, board member Cathy Roberts explained that the GWNC received nine applications for this year’s grant cycle, and recommended that a total of $3,000 in funding be split among six of the nine applicants. The board voted unanimously to approve the committee’s recommendations, which included:
- $250 to the Anderson-Munger YMCA for staff and transportation for the Feed LA free produce and meal distribution program.
- $1,000 to Enrich LA for the Garden Ranger program at Wilshire Park Elementary School.
- $250 to the First in Fire Foundation for freezers and pantries at two local fire stations.
- $250 to Larchmont Charter School to help fund its Family Fair, an annual multicultural celebration.
- $250 to Stories from the Frontline to help fund its upcoming “Homelessness Solutions that Work” event.
- $1,000 to the Wilshire Crest PTA for improvements to the Pre-K and Kindergarten play yard at Wilshire Crest Elementary School.
According to Roberts, the three remaining applications did not receive funding recommendations because they were not specific enough about what the money would be used for, and/or whether or not the requesting organization is located within the GWNC area and specifically serves GWNC stakeholders.
Roberts told the Buzz that this year’s applications “were varied and interesting, which led to a healthy discussion of where to allocate the NPG funding.” She said the evaluation process starts with scoring each application using a common set of criteria, and that led to the final recommendation that two applications benefitting local elementary schools be funded to the full amounts requested, with four smaller grants awarded to the other organizations noted above.
In addition, Julie Stromberg, chair of the GWNC’s Ad Hoc NPG Committee, said this year’s applicants “serviced various areas of the GWNC, including, but not limited to, (1) Wilshire Park, (2) Brookside, and (3) Sycamore Square. Many applicants service the greater area of the GWNC and multiple areas. The applicants were diverse and ranged from schools to homeless outreach to nutrition to community building to community safety. We were very pleased with the pool of applicants and their diversity. We only wish we could have given them all money or more money!”
The GWNC’s next regular board meeting – which will be its first in-person meeting since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 – will be held on Wednesday, April 12, at 6:30 p.m. at the Ebell of Los Angeles, 743 S. Lucerne Blvd.
[Note: this story was edited after its initial publication to include the comment from GWNC Ad Hoc NPG Committee chair Julie Stromberg.]