Routt County approves $150K in pandemic relief grants for local nonprofits
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — The Routt County Board of Commissioners approved more than $150,000 in relief grants for local nonprofits Tuesday to bolster their bottom line as they deal with the economic hardships of the pandemic.
The $1,000 to $5,000 grants went to 36 nonprofits, and all but two applicants got a grant in some form. There were 25 nonprofits that got a full allocation of what they requested.
In total, Routt County and other partners like the city of Steamboat Springs have awarded over $900,000 in relief grants to local businesses and nonprofits. The money will be distributed to the businesses and nonprofits before the second week in January, but Routt County Interim Manager Mark Collins said checks could start going out as soon as this week.
Collins also said there is some additional money to be used for grants from unspent CARES money allocated to the town of Yampa. The roughly $20,000 from Yampa, in addition to some extra business grant money, will be distributed to nonprofits and businesses.
Commissioners delegated distribution of the money to Collins who will work with the two grant committees to allocate the funds.
The Yampa Valley Community Foundation facilitated the application process with a grant committee ultimately making recommendations to commissioners about which nonprofits should get funding. All the money available was awarded, and the foundation did not take any compensation for its work.
“This list is a pretty impressive list, obviously they probably all could have used more money, and they probably all were greatly impacted by COVID,” Commissioner Tim Corrigan said. “At least it’s something, and to the extent it helps them continue to operate, I think we can all take some pride in helping make this happen.”
The grant money came from some of the CARES Act funding both Routt County and the city received from the federal government.
The committee deciding on who got grants used a scoring system to compare the applications, similarly to how the business grants were distributed. Members of the committee took into account things like how the nonprofit supports the local economy and how many of its employees live and work in Routt County. The longevity of a nonprofit also was considered.
They also assessed how the pandemic has affected a particular nonprofit and how they planned to use the grant money, asking nonprofits to provide profit-and-loss statements to the committee.
Tim Wohlgenant, executive director of the Yampa Valley Community Foundation, said they had a lot of very strong applications, evident by almost all applicants getting some money.
“They are used to asking for money and making their case, and they do a good job of it,” Wohlgenant said. “In most cases, we were able to get significant funding to these nonprofits. There were only two applicants that we decided not to fund at all.”
A perfect score in the system would net 33 points. Based on this, all the nonprofits with more than 28 points got the full $5,000 award. Of the rest, 11 got part of what they requested, and two were not awarded grants.
Corrigan said the county turned over distribution of the grants to the Yampa Valley Community Foundation simply because the county did not have the resources to accomplish the task quickly.
“We really didn’t have the staff time available, and the fact that you guys were able to divert your efforts from a lot of other work I am sure you have to do, just speaks to the relationship we have developed,” Corrigan said.
Wohlgenant said he heard from some local nonprofits that opted not to apply for the grant money because they believed others were more greatly impacted by the pandemic.
“They felt they had managed to get through this time pretty well, and they didn’t want to take money away from other nonprofits they felt could be more deserving,” Wohlgenant said.
To reach Dylan Anderson, call 970-871-4247 or email danderson@SteamboatPilot.com.
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The pandemic is wearing on a lot of people, especially frontline health care workers like Whittany Keating, a registered nurse at UCHealth Yampa Valley Medical Center in Steamboat Springs.