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BOMA OK’s grant process


Farragut’s Board of Mayor and Aldermen unanimously approved a community grant policy — enacting an application period, deadline and review process — at its meeting Thursday, April 8.

“This will let us address these issues for our budgetary planning period,” Alderman John Williams said.

Under the new policy, all community grant requests will be reviewed at the same time, rather than over the course of the year on a first-come, first-served basis as has been done in the past.

Alderman Jeff Elliott asked that a stipulation be added to the application asking requestors to specify the extent to which Farragut citizens will benefit from a grant.

“We’re looking at the reach of the request … because we only have so many dollars to go around,” Elliott said.


Asking people to estimate the number of people affected by their request is common in the grant world, he added.

“I can’t ask somebody to put a number on something like this, personally,” Williams said, adding a great idea may only affect 50 people but a not-so-great idea may affect 300.

He advocated using a more general term such as “magnitude” to judge the scope of each grant request.

Mayor Ralph McGill worried that applicants might not be able to estimate a number of Farragut citizens a grant would affect.

“I think you know when you see it what’s a good proposal and what’s not a good proposal,” he said.

“This all ends up being judgment,” he added, urging Board members to judge applications by their overall merit and not just by the number of people affected by each grant.

“It’s a variable that’s out there in the grant world, it’s not unusual and it does give us a scope. It’s an objective criteria,” Elliott said, specifying he would not be looking only at numbers during the review process.

Williams and Elliott discussed various options for the application and eventually decided it should state, “describe … the benefit to the residents of the town of Farragut and estimate the number of people impacted.”

The two felt that requirement would make it clear to applicants what the Board was looking for in community grant requests.

Williams said he was glad Board members were looking at different issues with community grants.

“Every person sitting on this Board is going to have a slightly different bent and a slightly different set of priorities, but the collective intelligence that’s going to emanate from that is what’s going to be important.

“I think that’s fine . … I think that only enhances the review process,” he said.

Alderman Bob Markli moved to accept the grant policy with the amendment to the application; Elliott seconded.

The motion was unanimously approved.

In normal years, the application period will extend from January 1 to April 1, but this year that period will be very short: from now to early May.

The community grant policy will govern Town donations to nonprofit charitable and civic organizations, along with a few, very rare, sectarian organizations such as the YMCA.

Public school grants are not governed by this policy because schools are considered a public entity.

Donations to private schools and education foundations likely would be considered community grants while donations to sports teams or booster clubs likely would be considered school grants.

 

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