The county’s latest round of annual nonprofit grants excluded several well-known organizations and prompted a statement from the Loudoun Human Services Network calling on supervisors to increase their nonprofit funding.
The county’s competitive grant funding process allocates roughly $1.1 million for nonprofits in Loudoun. Supervisors have striven for years to amend their always-controversial nonprofit grant funding, including trying to take politics out of those decisions by setting up a system of guidelines and scoring for funding requests.
They also took six nonprofits out of the competitive grant process, instead funding those organizations directly and effectively increasing the total amount of county government funding for nonprofits. Those include HealthWorks for Northern Virginia, the Loudoun Free Clinic, Northern Virginia Dental Clinic, Blue Ridge Speech and Hearing, Loudoun Volunteer Caregivers, and the Loudoun Abused Women’s Shelter. Last year, those nonprofits were collectively granted $648,373.
But many nonprofits miss out nonetheless, even some that have previously received major county funding. While 33 nonprofits made applications that met the county’s qualifications for grant funding, due to budget restrictions, only 20 are recommended for funding. Seven more organizations qualified for $5,000 mini-grants.
Qualifying organizations that will miss out this year include among others All Ages Read Together, Inova Health Care Services, the Good Shepherd Alliance, the Arc of Loudoun, the YMCA Loudoun County Youth Development Center, and Mobile Hope. They requested funding to support efforts such as supporting the elderly and disabled; forensic nursing services for people who have experienced physical and sexual violence; and keeping the emergency homeless shelter and five transitional homes open.
This year’s recommendations also do not include an annual 3-percent increase for grant funding, as supervisors have directed county staff members to freeze new spending as they navigate the tax revenue impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. This comes as the pandemic has put the services of nonprofits on the forefront of the community response.
This year’s funding recommendations, which supervisors will consider Tuesday, April 21, drew a letter from the Loudoun Human Services Network, a coalition of nonprofits, asking for more money in the pot. The network’s executive committee pointed out that the 33 qualifying applications totaled nearly $2.2 million in requests; the county recommendations will give less than half of that.
“Over the last several years it has become evident that the allocation of funding available for the Human Services Nonprofit Grant funding is not sufficient to meet the growing needs of our community,” the letter reads. “Additional resources are required to meet the minimum need as demonstrated by the amounts requested in the applications received from our nonprofit community.”
In its letter, the network also thanked supervisors for the continuing work to improve the grant process, as well as continuing to accept feedback from nonprofits about the process each year.
The letter is signed by LHSN Chairwoman Jennifer Montgomery, Executive Director of Loudoun Hunger Relief; Vice Chairwoman Nikki Daruwala, Executive Director of Loudoun Literacy Council; Treasurer Susan Mandel-Giblin, Executive Director of Loudoun Volunteer Caregivers; Secretary Andrea Eck, Executive Vice President of Northern Virginia Family Services; and immediate past chair Carol Jameson, Executive Director of HealthWorks for Northern Virginia.