01/25/10 — Grants available for organizations that help needy

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Grants available for organizations that help needy

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on January 25, 2010 1:46 PM

Stimulus money is still available for non-profits and church groups whose mission is working with homeless or low-income residents.

But the deadline for applications is fast approaching, said Daryl Woodard, executive director of Smart Choices for Youth Inc.

Woodard, whose agency typically seeks grant money of its own, became the benefactor of the stimulus money, with four counties eligible -- Wayne, Wilson, Edgecombe and Sampson.

The Demonstration Grant is a partnership with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, awarded under the new Compassion Capital Funds Demonstration Program.

Subgrants of up to $250,000 will be awarded to faith and community organizations to increase their sustainability and effectiveness to serve such factions of the population as the homeless, elderly, at-risk youth and those with low-income.

"Everybody has to have their application in to take advantage of the $250,000 that's available," Woodard said. Applications, available online, must be postmarked no later than Jan. 29.

If ever additional monetary support is needed, it's now, Woodard said. Between funding cuts and the recent economic downturn, the federal stimulus money comes at a good time.

"We don't know if this is going to be around next year," he said. "It's critical in that these organizations that need these type things can apply and go do greater works in the community that they serve."

Smart Choices will serve as intermediary, helping with funding distribution. An impartial agency will score the applications and determine recipients, Woodard said.

"Then we will make the announcement of who is chosen in those four counties," he said.

There are several things to note concerning the process for application and selection, Woodard said.

"Faith-based organizations don't have an advantage over community organizations," he said. "Another thing that's important with that, the annual budget (of an agency) cannot be over $500,000. And priority will be given to programs that provide critical services to lower income individuals and families."

The purpose of the funds is to address five critical categories: leadership development, organizational infrastructure, program design, financial sustainability and community engagement.

Applications are available online, Woodard said, and include a three- to five-page narrative allowing applicants the chance to explain the organization, what it is doing and how it would plan to use the funds.

"This is an opportunity to really strengthen organizations that are trying to make a difference in the lives of people," Woodard said. "We hope that people will take advantage of this.

"This is the first time in our history that we have been in a position to give out money. We're proud and humbled that we can do this."

For more information on the funding, the online address is www.smartchoicesforyouth.org.