(BIVN) – The Hawai’i County Council voted last Tuesday to increase by another $1 million dollars the amount the County can annually award to nonprofits.
When Hilo councilwoman Sue Lee Loy first introduced Bill 63, the measure proposed to officially raise the minimum grant-in-aid amount from $1 million to $1.5 million.
Although the Finance Director is required by law to set aside a minimum of $1 million in the operating budget for nonprofit organizations, the actual amount set aside for the last 12 years – under the Kenoi and Kim administrations – has been $1.5 million.
In March, Lee Loy says four council members and their staff interviewed nonprofit organizations that sought a total of $4.2 million in grant funding. “Nonprofit charitable organizations fill a vital role. But however worthy their causes are, we could recommend only a small fraction of their requests,” Lee Loy said. “These organizations help the most vulnerable in our community; it’s time we ensure and codify this level of funding.”
Lee Loy asked to amend Bill 63 on first reading during the County Council meeting on May 21 in Hilo, boosting the amount.
“What this communication does is actually take it up to $2.5 million dollars, which is still half of what we were requested of just in this grant cycle,” Lee Loy said. “Again, it would take effect in the 2021 cycle and would impact the nonprofit applications going into that fiscal year.”
According to Lee Loy, former mayor Billy Kenoi once told her, “Sue, sometimes you just got to swing for the fence.”
The new draft of Bill 63 was approved by the council on first reading. The bill still needs to pass council on second reading before it goes to Mayor Harry Kim for his signature.