Charlottesville Works to Change Process by which Nonprofits Receive Funding
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - The city of Charlottesville is working to become more transparent in its process of funding nonprofit organizations.
On Wednesday, May 8, City Council met with the team tasked with allocating that funding to see what changes can be made to the process.
That team is called the Agency Budget Review Team (ABRT).
Major changes could soon be coming to the way nonprofits are funded by the city of Charlottesville.
On Wednesday, councilors and nonprofit stakeholders got a first glimpse at some of those recommended improvements.
“There are many, many fine nonprofits that are operating in this town,” Walt Heinecke, who lives in Charlottesville, said.
But, year after year, many nonprofits feel unsatisfied after Charlottesville City Council allocates funding for certain nonprofits in the budget.
“I have been vocal since our first experience with ABRT that I would love to see the process evaluated and improved,” Maureen Brondyke, the executive director of New City Arts, said.
Now, that funding process is getting a face-lift.
Back in January, City Council called for a complete overhaul of the system and since then the ABRT has been coming up with ideas for improvement.
“The council has done a great job at making a priority for affordable housing in this community,” Heinecke said. “They’re working on the Civilian Review Board. I think this issue right here is a third part of the triangle of addressing the inequality and inequities in this community.”
An idea proposed by the ABRT is to allocate funding based on a set of community priorities, like affordable housing or stopping opioid abuse.
This plan would benefit the nonprofits whose missions align with those priorities. However, that means others could get left out in the cold.
“For some nonprofits, it reflects a change that they would support because they are trying to get additional dollars to address a major or emerging need,” Kaki Dimock, the acting assistant city manager, said. “But I think a lot of nonprofits would also lose out on that if we shifted funds away from a more generalized funding structure.”
City Councilor Mike Signer suggests the list of priorities be updated yearly to make sure they always align with the community's needs.
“It’s possible that we could come to great strategic answers on all these things in a one and done amazing vision that would be like the comprehensive plan or something, and it guides us in a totally new direction," Signer said. "But just even having this discussion strategically every year would be totally different."
These ideas are all preliminary, and the Agency Budget Review Team is looking for feedback from councilors and community members.
All of this is set to be discussed further at City Council’s next meeting on May 20.