City of Aspen looks at how it doles out $1.5M to nonprofits |

City of Aspen looks at how it doles out $1.5M to nonprofits

Aspen City Council is re-examining how it gives money to health and human services organizations so that grants are doled out in the most efficient and effective manner.

At its Tuesday work session, council found consensus in giving multi-year grants instead of every year. That’s in an effort to lower the administrative burden on applicants, as well as allow them a more stable funding source so they can budget their programs better.

About $219,000 is available for city health and human services grants for local nonprofits. Currently, grantees receiving more than $10,000 have a requirement to provide measures of performance. There are more than a dozen organizations that receive less than $10,000, and they do not have a requirement to track or report performance measurements.

Council held off on staff’s request for direction on how to hold those nonprofits accountable based on performance. That’s partly because there will be another discussion on the matter next month, but also because some council members want to review the city’s entire grant-giving program.

Councilwoman Ann Mullins, who used to sit on the city’s grant committee, said the municipality should take over the process entirely. In total, the city annually awards around $1.5 million across four different grant programs to area nonprofits.

She suggested that they all go under one umbrella, and organizations could be held accountable with established metrics.

Councilman Adam Frisch said Mullins raised valid points, and supported her idea. Any short-term decisions on health and human services grant giving could be done on a pilot program basis while the bigger picture is looked at.

The other three elected officials — Councilmen Ward Hauenstein and Bert Myrin along with Mayor Steve Skadron — concurred.

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