The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

January 15, 2013

Tornado fund board discusses grant amounts; One request to be cut

By Debby Woodin

— A city board on Monday reviewed grant requests for tornado recovery efforts and agreed that further review is needed for all but one.

Last week, representatives of 15 organizations gave presentations explaining the purpose for their funding requests from the Joplin Tornado First Response Fund that total about $907,000.

A city-appointed board of trustees must review the requests, decide whether they meet the purposes stated in the fund’s bylaws, and arrive at an amount it thinks it can award to help achieve the stated purposes.

On Monday, the board discussed whether it could pare some of the requests so that money can be provided to most of the projects or programs proposed since the total exceeds the balance in the fund, which is about $450,000.

The trustees agreed that a request by St. Bernard Project Inc., also known as Rebuild Joplin, for $225,300 was worthy in view of the organization’s effort to repair or rebuild houses for which owners did not have insurance or enough insurance to do the work. It requested a matching share of a grant for AmeriCorps to station 50 youth corps workers in Joplin for two years to work as site supervisors.

But the board had determined shortly after its inception that it was limited to funding requests for one year. In view of that, and the other requests to be funded, that might limit any award to about $50,000 for Rebuild Joplin, members said.

The board discussed the possibility of allowing the $50,000 asked for by the Joplin Area Long-Term Recovery Committee to pay for goods or furnishings to help those who were rendered homeless get households started again.

Members also discussed funding some of the smaller grant requests, such as $20,000 for the Multi-Agency Warehouse to pay a supervisor for the next six months to track inventory and supervise distribution of building materials and household goods for the rebuilt houses.

The requests, other than one by Missouri Southern State University, met either with tentative approval by the board or agreement to further discuss the purpose or the grant amount at the next meeting.

The MSSU Health Sciences Department asked for $47,464 to train two faculty members at each of Joplin’s 17 public schools in cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Half of that amount would have to be used to pay wages to the faculty members for the time spent in training. The board questioned how those certifications would be renewed as required if funding was available for only one year. Board members also noted that most schools have nurses or others on hand who are already trained. The board agreed to not advance that request. There also were questions about whether the school district would participate in providing funds.

More information is to be sought from several of the organizations before more action is taken on their requests. One is the Joplin Family Worship Center, which requested $206,900 to pay for supplies and utilities to feed and house volunteers scheduled to arrive in Joplin this year to work in the tornado zone. Another is the Care to Learn agency, which asked for $60,000 to pay for storm shelters for those who meet certain eligibility requirements.

Applications by the Joplin Family Y, Joplin Area Habitat for Humanity, Children’s Haven, Art Feeds, the Ozark Center’s Turnaround Ranch and the Area Agency on Aging are still to be considered, though some at reduced funding.

Next meeting

THE BOARD will further discuss the grant applications at 10:30 a.m. Friday, Jan. 25, at City Hall, 602 S. Main St.