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Cupertino-Based Charity Receives $9k From Saratoga

Nonprofits chosen for the annual Community Service Matching Grant Program due to their 'phenomenal' value provided to area residents.

West Valley Community Services, Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County Ombudsman Program and the Saratoga Area Senior Coordinating Council for Adult Day Care will be beneficiaries of Saratoga’s 2013-14 Community Service Matching Grant Program.

The Saratoga City Council voted to allocate $35,000 to the nonprofits at the Dec. 19, 2012 Council meeting. The allocation will be split by allocating $20,000 to SASCC, about $9,000 to West Valley Community Services, which serves residents of Cupertino, and about $6,000 to Catholic Charities for its senior Ombudsman program. The money should be disbursed to the nonprofits in April.

In the 2012-13 budget year, the city allocated $26,500 in grant money to the same nonprofits, which all serve Saratoga residents.

“We’d really like to fund everyone, but we fund these three organizations because they provide phenomenal services,” said Councilmember Manny Cappello.

According to a staff report from the city, in 2008 the Council established a policy of matching federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) public service funds allocated to Saratoga with funding from the city to increase the available grant funding for local service organizations.

In 2012, changes were made to the allocation process for CDBG public service funding. Santa Clara County took over responsibility for allocation of the funds and created a countywide CDBG public service fund application and allocation process, which is based on nonprofits that provide housing assistance.

Cities in the county are now no longer responsible for recommending allocation of CDBG public service funds within their respective jurisdictions.

With the county overseeing administration of the CDBG public service funds, Saratoga CDBG public service funds no longer serve as a basis to determine funding levels for the Community Service Grant Program.

The funding amount for the program was based on the estimated amount of CDBG public service funds the city would have received in 2012-13 if there were no changes to the program.

Additionally, the Council decided to forego the competitive application process used in past years when determining program allocations.

Last fiscal year, the Council agreed to divide program funds among SASCC, Catholic Charities and West Valley Community Services. SASCC received $20,000 and both Catholic Charities and West Valley Community Services were awarded $3,250 each.

Cappello, who is on the County’s Housing and Community Development Advisory Committee (HCDAC), which oversees federal money coming from HUD, argued that even though the money for the Adult Day Care program is not specifically for housing, some cities don’t have a need for housing but for services for their residents. The committee agreed to consider including the Adult Day Care when they come up with a budget, which is to be presented to the committee in mid-March.

He also suggested to the Council that if CDBG does not come back with $15,000 or more for the SASCC Adult Day Care program then they would not accept applications this year from other nonprofits and the $15,000 or less would be allocated to the three nonprofits the city normally supports. If the amount is more than $15,000 they will put out an announcement to other nonprofits that want to apply for a grant.

Cappello was concerned about other nonprofits going through the application process and possibly not getting any grant money and the amount of staff office time it would take to create the application process.

“Is it better to fund a really small amount to many groups or a larger amount to a select few?” asked Cappello at the Dec. 19 meeting. “It just doesn’t make sense to go through that process and give out just $100, or even $1,000 to a nonprofit. It doesn’t really help them.”

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