Paramount to allow local groups to seek additional funding

Wave Staff Report

PARAMOUNT — Service clubs wishing to conduct community-wide events may request additional funds from the city if the group has already used its currently allocated $5,000.

In a report to the City Council June 8, Community Services Director David Johnson said that the $5,000 allocation was approved by the council in 2016 to encourage community groups to conduct “community or cultural events, open to the public, at a city facility, that is not otherwise offered by the city and is not a fundraiser for the organization.”

The policy provides that any Paramount service club is able to request funding for the event from the City Council through the community organization funding process, Johnson said in his report.

The council voted to revise the policy to allow community organizations to request additional funds, if necessary.

Johnson said an example of the revision might be  two groups planning a traditional observance to honor dead friends and relatives in November, but have already exceeded their $5,000 cap.

Plans to help community groups conduct events and thus save the city money, began eight years ago, Johnson said. The policy began after the loss of redevelopment funds in 2012 and the subsequent strain on the city’s general fund.

The council reviewed and adopted a funding policy that established criteria for evaluating funding levels for groups funded through the community promotion budget.

According to Johnson’s report, there are three types of groups that receive funding through the community promotion budget. They include organizations that provide direct aid to residents such as food or hospice services, youth sports leagues and service clubs.

Other groups, like the Tepic Sister City organization and nonprofits like the 999 for Kids Foundation, were allotted a specific allocation related to event costs.

Johnson said funding requests from service clubs must demonstrate that the funding is not being used to create a fundraising opportunity to support the club’s general operations, but is being used to offset costs incurred by the event after any revenue stemming from the event is calculated into the profit-loss analysis for the event.

One example cited by Johnson is the Latinas Art Foundation, which took over the annual art show at the city’s request from the former Traditional Artists Guild. Johnson said that program was already capped at $5,000.

Should the Latinas Art Foundation wish to request additional funding for an eligible community or cultural event in the city, they would be unable to do so because of the existing cap.

Johnson said Latinas Art Foundation is currently collaborating with Tepic Sister City to plan and conduct a cultural event this November around the traditional Día del los Muertos (Day of the Dead) observance at Progress Plaza.

“This event essentially replaces Tepic’s Día del los Muertos event formerly held at Paramount Park but is more expansive in terms of cultural elements and activities and, thus, more financially intensive,” Johnson told the council.

“Tepic has pledged its traditional allocation of $1,500 for the event that is part of their annual funding from the city. However, neither Latinas Art Foundation nor Tepic are able to request additional funding to support the event because both have reached their funding cap,” Johnson said.

He noted the city is supportive of its service clubs providing additional community or cultural events that provide social outlets for residents and support the connection of these nonprofits to the community.

“It would be beneficial for the City Council to revise the current community organization funding policy to provide the opportunity for additional funding to Paramount service clubs to allow them to conduct additional approved community and cultural events in the city,” Johnson added.