Bay Area

Mayor Recommends Continuing CAP Grant Program for Neighborhood Projects


2010 National Night Out event.

San Jose’s Community Action and Pride grant program appears to be headed for another year of funding thanks to money leftover from previous years and support from Mayor Chuck Reed.

Lobbying also came from neighborhood associations who signed an online petition launched by D5 United, a San Jose City Council District 5 leadership group. About 200 residents from across San Jose signed the petition, asking for the city to keep the program that provides small grants for activities and cleanups. The online petition sent emails from signers to the council, mayor and city manager’s offices.

Reed’s March 9 budget message directed the City Manager to include $110,000 for CAP grants in the draft of the 2012-2013 budget, which is expected by May 1.

It’s uncertain, however, if the program will continue after that. The $100,000 in funding for the current cycle ends on June 30. Sixty-four groups were awarded CAP grants for this fiscal year.

The popular program funds such activities as social mixers, Dumpster Days (cleanups using dumpsters rented from the city), newsletters and National Night Out events. Grants also are used for liability insurance required by the city for events in public parks and buildings.

The grants are administered for the city by United Neighborhoods of Santa Clara County, which also provides $111 worth of insurance for each member association. UNSCC dues are $200 a year. UNSCC also offers mixers, training and networking opportunities for neighborhood leaders, said UNSCC executive director Ken Podgorsek.

Ernest Guzman, senior analyst with the city manager’s office, said other details about the grant program extension would be worked out in the coming months, including the fee to UNSCC for administering the grants. Administration costs last year were $10,000, Podgorsek said.

The CAP grants range from $500 to $5,000, and applicants submit detailed accounts of how the money will be used. Grantees must provide matching funds in the form of volunteer hours, but groups also leverage the city’s investment by soliciting donations from businesses and other neighborhoods interests for an event.

“Neighborhoods are very creative,” he said. “The average leverage on CAP grants far exceeds 200 percent.”

Source: NeighborWebSJ []

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