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Bill Introduced to Increase Minimum Amount Granted Annually to Nonprofits

April 15, 2019, 3:29 PM HST (Updated April 15, 2019, 3:30 PM)
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Councilwoman Sue Lee Loy

In recognition of the service that charitable nonprofit organizations provide to the people of Hawai‘i County, Councilmember Sue Lee Loy is introducing a bill to raise the minimum amount of funding to be made available from $1,000,000 to $1,500,000.

Bill No. 63 has been referred to the Finance Committee meeting on May 7, 2019. If approved, it would apply for the application period that opens from November 2019 to January 2020, for fiscal year 2020-2021.

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In a press release from Lee Loy’s office, it was reported:

While the Finance Director is required by law to set aside a minimum of $1 million in the operating budget for nonprofit organizations, beginning in FY 2007-2008 and every year thereafter, the actual amount set aside has been $1.5 million for each year under the Kenoi and Kim administrations.

By way of comparison, the county budget in FY 2007-2008 was $374.8 million. The County Council is looking at a proposed budget of $573.5 million for FY 19-20. With the increases in taxes, fees, population, and social needs over the last 12 years, a periodic increase in the minimum amount for nonprofit organizations is not just a necessity—it is a moral necessity.

In March, four council members and their staff interviewed nonprofit organizations that sought a total of $4.2 million in grant funding, even though only $1.5 million was available. In total, there were 153 funding requests for programs ranging from homelessness to after-school care, to environmental protection, substance abuse recovery, mediation, low income health care, spaying and neutering, and many more.

Lee Loy said that serving on the ad hoc committee for nonprofit organizations is an eye-opening experience. “Nonprofit charitable organizations fill a vital role. But however worthy their causes are, we could recommend only a small fraction of their requests,” she said. “These organizations help the most vulnerable in our community; it’s time we ensure and codify this level of funding.”

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