BOMA discusses modifying non-profits’ grant-seeking procedures

Non-profit organizations accustomed to presenting their needs for funding to Farragut Board of Mayor and Aldermen may have that opportunity taken away.

The Board discussed updating its procedures for choosing recipients of the town’s community grants during a workshop before its regular meeting Thursday evening, April 12, in Town Hall.

Alderman Ron Williams suggested only having the new applicants give presentations, to which Board members agreed.

However, no vote was taken.

As currently permitted, the Board has heard from each organization making a request.

This year, Alderman Louise Povlin asked for a change.

“As you know, I’ve been a little frustrated with our community grant program, just trying to wrap my mind around it,” she said. “In going through our policy and going through tons of other people’s policies, I came up with an idea for objectives for our community grant program so people who are applying know what we are looking for.”

For a non-profit to be awarded a grant, “We really want something that’s going to benefit our community,” Povlin said. “I am looking for meaningful, measurable results.

“This is town money; we need to be careful.”

She proposed separating community needs grants from grants for community events, such as the Lawn Chair Series, and handling Farragut High School Education Foundation funding differently from community grants.

“I would like to figure out a protocol and give (FHS Education Foundation grant) to the (Town’s) Educational Relations Committee,” Povlin said. “We are trying to establish a closer relationship with our schools, and I think this would be an opportunity to hand it off to (the committee) that they could handle.”

Povlin said each year the Town sends grant applicants a letter.

“I think it just needs to be posted in the newspaper,” she said. “That’s sufficient. Part of the reason we see these people come back (for funding) is because we’ve contacted them.”

While Mayor Ralph McGill said he would like to hear what all the applicants have to say, Povlin countered, “I can’t do it again.

“They are the same people,” she added. “I think it’s a waste of time. “It’s a painful procedure.”