City Councilors Decide Which Area Nonprofits Should be Rewarded Funds

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City Council's budget session on March 29 City Council's budget session on March 29
Fourteen nonprofits showed up at the session in the hopes of receiving funds Fourteen nonprofits showed up at the session in the hopes of receiving funds

Charlottesville nonprofits are looking for a helping hand, and they want the city's help.

At a budget work session on Thursday, March 29, City Council had to make some tough cuts to groups that are fully funded on donations and grants.

Less than 2 percent of the Charlottesville city budget goes to nonprofits in the area and while that may seem like a small percentage, when it comes funding, these groups believe no amount is too small.

"Without Georgia’s Healing House, today I may not be alive," says Heather Kellams, the marketing, fundraising, and program specialist for Georgia's Healing House.

Kellams says she owes her life to Georgia’s Healing House, which is a 12-bed facility that helps women recover from drugs and alcohol addictions and mental health challenges.

Now, she's advocating for the group to get the funding it so desperately needs.

At Thursday night’s city budget work session where councilors were working out the kinks in their 2019 fiscal year proposed budget, representatives from 14 nonprofits spoke up about why they feel they need a helping hand.

The Agency Budget Review Team created a list of the groups and gave them ratings based on which ones they believed needed money more than others. The team recommended funding eight out of the 14.

Councilor Wes Bellamy wanted to try to figure out a way to fund them all.

"One of the reasons why I'm so adamant that we try to figure out how to fund them is because they're doing phenomenal work that's actually helping us move the bar to where our city actually wants to go," says Bellamy.

But, in the end, council decided to go with the recommendation to fund just eight. The groups that received funding are organizations dedicated to affordable housing, counseling, and drug recovery. It will cost the city more than $178,000, but that cost still keeps council from going over budget.

“So I thought it was a productive meeting to say the least,” says Bellamy.

The groups that received funding include the Piedmont Family YMCA, Local Food Hub, Foothills Child Advocacy Center, and several others.