By Katy Snyder
JVA Consulting Communications/Resource Development Associate
At the recent Colorado Nonprofit Association’s Making Sense of the Recovery Act for Nonprofits workshop, nonprofit professionals from around the state were given an overview of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) spending that target nonprofits.
Renny Fagan, President and CEO of the Colorado Nonprofit Association, gave an overview of Colorado’s nonprofit sector, stressing the importance of its work and saying that the 19,000 nonprofits in Colorado represent the third largest industry in the state and over five percent of the Gross State Product. Fagan also discussed the current state of nonprofits in Colorado, citing figures that show that Colorado’s nonprofits have largely been able to weather the downturn intact but saying that they will be vulnerable in the future.
Across the board, nonprofits have seen declines in fundraising, with the largest declines being in corporate fundraising, special events and individual donations. State Treasurer Cary Kennedy also spoke, saying that Colorado is expected to receive $3 billion in stimulus funds, and with tax and business relief, the amount could jump to $7 billion.
Mark Cavanaugh from the Governor’s Office also addressed the rumor that Colorado would receive less recovery funds than nearly every other state, saying that it was too soon to make this assumption and that the current figure does not include competitive dollars, funds that he said that state was well-positioned to receive.
After Fagan’s speech, there were breakout sessions that highlighted a variety of key areas that would receive recovery money; below are highlights from several of the sessions, which staff members from JVA Consulting attended.
Education: Colorado will receive $500 million for K–12 education and $135 million for higher education. The majority of K–12 education funding will go through school districts, so nonprofits will need to develop partnerships (or leverage existing partnerships) with school districts in order to access this funding.
The federal government wants this funding to have far reaching effects, making it likely that it will fund projects that involve multistate consortiums.
Health and health care: Because Kathleen Sebelius has not yet been confirmed as Secretary of Health and Human Services, this area of the ARRA is not as defined as others are. Here is what has been confirmed so far:
Mental health: Mental health was not allocated any money as its own category, but funds for mental health care are written into the following categories of funding:
Workforce vocation rehabilitation
Health IT systems
Medicaid moratorium on case management
Education Innovation Fund: provisions include mental health for kids
Prevention and wellness: service provision for chronically ill kids
Incentives for adopting electronic records: Competitive grants will be announced for this area. Colorado Regional Health Information Organization (CORHIO) will be the entity that will be distributing information technology funds. Check http://www.corhio.org/ for updates.
Infection reduction strategies: $50 million (check CDPHE’s Web site for more info)
Strengthening Family and Community:
Juvenile Justice: Competitive grants will be available to prevent and control crime and improve the criminal justice system. Partnerships of government agencies and nonprofits are encouraged to apply for funding.
Office of Violence against Women (OVW): Grants for transitional housing and job opportunities for victims of domestic violence. The state could receive $500,000 a year for two years that can then be granted out.
Statewide Strategic Use Fund (SSUF): SSUF will receive another $10 million in Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) funds to be granted to agencies that serve TANF-eligible populations. Grants will be between $25,000 and $1,000,000. Check colorado.gov/coloradoworks for more info.
Strengthening Community Fund: $50 million to build the capacity of both faith-based and secular nonprofits to address economic recovery issues such as helping low income workers find and keep employment. Grants of up to $1 million will be made to organizations with capacity building and financial assistance. Local and tribal governments will make awards for up to $250,000 to state, city, county and American Indian/Native American tribes.
Division of Criminal Justice: Approximately $16.4 million in Justice Assistance Grant Recovery Act funding is available for state and local projects that support efforts to prevent or reduce crime and violence through the Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Fund. Check http://dcj.state.co.us/ for current RFPs.
Housing and Neighborhoods: Almost all money in this category will be directed toward enhancing or filling gaps in existing programs. The Colorado Housing Authority needs to address new state HUD funding soon and currently has a work group developing the plan. There is a total of $50 million designated for this area, with a certain amount allotted for Colorado Springs, Denver, Adams County and Aurora; HUD must distribute the rest of the funds and will be looking for citizen/provider input to this plan.
Arts: Arts funding will primarily be allocated to arts groups that have already been funded by the NEA.
Energy: Go to the governor’s Web site at http://www.colorado.gov/governor and click on the “New Energy Economy” for information about all energy funding.
The workshops ended with closing remarks from Mike Roque, Director of the Denver Office of Strategic Partnerships. Roque gave practical advice, stressing that all recovery funds will be distributed quickly and that this was not the time for nonprofits to create new programs or chase funding that was not well-aligned with their existing mission and programs. He also said that the government will be asking for a high level of fiscal accountability on the part of nonprofits that receive recovery money and that nonprofits that are not in good financial shape should not apply for funds.
Visit http://www.coloradononprofits.org/ for more information about the Colorado Nonprofit Association’s Making Sense of the Recovery Act for Nonprofits workshop.