COMMUNITY SERVICES UPDATE - MARY KEATING
Mary Keating followed-up on the April 18 Human Services Committee meeting, stating she is
working with Finance and the State’s Attorney on a resolution and a sample agreement regarding
the small non-profit agencies’ funding. She stated there will not be any items to approve today,
rather a consensus among the committee to determine what should be brought to Finance for
approval next week.
Ms. Keating clarified that the small non-profit funding is not funded out of ARPA but funded
under ARPA interest. The ARPA guidelines do not apply but the restrictions on what the County
can do as a non-home rule community do apply to these funds, and determines the eligibility of
what the County can do. A grant from government funds is not a donation to an organization,
rather it is a contract, with expectation for performance of a service, and that service can only be
something the County would be authorized to do on its own. Assistant State’s Attorney, Conor
McCarthy and Mary produced eligibility criteria that are services they were confident the County
has statutory authority to support. These categories are economic development including literacy
and job readiness, education and mentoring, housing & shelter, mental health services, substance
abuse disorder treatment, and food assistance. If they open the category ‘other’, they may very
well be inundated with applications for categories the County cannot fund.
Ms. Keating continued, stating this was proposed as a human services grant, in line with the
Human Services Grant Fund (HSGF), not a broad non-profit grant encompassing the arts,
environment, or animal services. It is ultimately a County Board decision if they want to expand
the categories.It would then need to be vetted by the State's Attorney to identify what the County
could do under those categories. Different questions would have to be asked on the application.
Chair Schwarze asked the committee for input. Members LaPlante, Galassi, Childress, and Yoo
expressed their support of Mary’s judgement. Chair Schwarze summarized there was a consensus
from the committee regarding the direction they would go. Ms. Keating stated she would remove
‘other’ category on the application portal and leave the categories she and ASA McCarthy
defined as the criteria for applications.
Mary advocated for a sixty-day window to give the members the opportunity to get information
out to their networks, allow time to do outreach to nonprofits, and allow small agencies, maybe
without grant writers, ample time to complete the application. She added the department has
several contact lists they can send email blasts to also.
County Board member Yoo asked for clarification of the term ‘program’. Does it have to be a
program, can it be a purpose of the organization, or does it have to say program? Ms. Keating
replied that the application asks for a description including mission, history, and service areas.
Since we are contracting for a service, there must be specific description of the service they are
providing. Ms. Keating offered to change the verbiage to read “Please describe the service to be
provided using county funds”.
Mary added that staff will geocode applicant agencies' addresses to determine the County Board
district in which they are located. However, because agencies' service areas may overlap between
districts, there will likely need to be discussions between districts and ultimately be up to the
members of each district to decide how the funding is divided..
Conor McCarthy added that the members can divide the funding how they would like to but he
would like the district to submit a unanimous report to the County Board. That way there is a
legislative component to it. For legal purposes there is a reason for that rationale.
Member Galassi asked about if an organization is a division of a larger organization, how will
the under $300,000 annual threshold be determined? Mary replied that it will depend on how the