Round VII — First Night of Interviews

The first night of interviews for Round VII of the Neighborhood Connections grant program was last night. I didn’t have to haul ass out to Mt. Pleasant this time, since my group was meeting at St. Ignatius. We were supplied with coffee and tea which was great since I was fighting some sinus stuff. We had six interviews to cover in three hours, from stray animal care to beautification to school reading programs. One fledgling block club had a grant written for beautification, but the person who wrote the grant from Clark Metro Development, didn’t show up to the interview, and the woman who came in his place had never seen the grant and had no idea what it was about.

I felt sorry for her because it was obvious that her block club had started something good that wasn’t being served by the CDC. One of the other members of my committee wanted to call the person who wrote the grant and give him the what for. The grant was hand-​written and dashed off in about ten minutes. Typically we choose to interview this kind of grant because it indicates that the people applying for it are first-​time grant-​seekers and truly grassroots. That explains our surprise and indignation when we realized that an employee of a community development corporation had written it. The reasons Clark Metro has lost its funding are becoming self-​evident.

Another grant was for a good project but the funds being requested, all $5000 are essentially going to a middle-​man non-​profit that has been backing the same program city-​wide and applying to NC under the guise of PTAs from different schools. They’ve received funding from NC at least 4 times, which could be up to $20k in funding that they’ve garnered from us using engaged parents and teachers as a proxy. This non-​profit gets all the money and the parents and teachers do all the work as volunteers. The tough part is that if we don’t fund it, the program dies at those schools. So who gets hurt? The children of course. At the next meeting of the full committee we’re definitely going to be discussing this type of disingenuousness.

I tried to stop at Dave’s because we got out at a 8:45, but they were locked up tight, despite their store hours until 9. So instead of getting bananas and some oranges, I stopped at Tremont Convenience and got potato chips and oreos. I got home, popped a Sudafed, and my nose slowly stopped running. This is community meeting week for me. Tuesday was a Tremont Strategic Investment meeting [another 3 hour tour], yesterday was grant interviews and tonight is the Auburn Block Club meeting and ice cream social.