The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

July 2, 2012

Joplin First Response Fund boosts work of 14 agencies

JOPLIN, Mo. — Members of the Joplin Tornado First Response Fund board approved grants Monday for all but four of the 18 applicants that remained after earlier cuts.

Phil Stinnett, chairman of the board overseeing the trust, said that with only $350,000 to parcel out and requests that totaled $1.2 million, the panel would not be able to fully fund requests. Several of the smaller requests were given final approval, but large requests were pared to $50,000 or less.

Those requests that made it to the final round but did not receive any funding were from Habitat for Humanity, $60,000; the American Red Cross, $77,000; the Salvation Army, $169,000; and the city of Joplin, $250,000.

Board members said they appreciated the work of Habitat, the Red Cross and the Salvation Army since May 22, 2011, but they noted that Habitat for Humanity has a number of resources right now for labor, materials and funding as it builds houses for tornado victims. Board members also said the Red Cross request was to fund future projects for emergency preparedness, but it was not as immediate a need as requests from other applicants. Board members also noted that the Salvation Army has other resources available for its work.

Scott Clayton, executive director of Joplin Area Habitat for Humanity, said that even though his organization wasn’t funded this round, he was pleased with the results.

“I’m glad 14 nonprofits are going to benefit from the (First Response) fund,” he said. “I’m glad this community has the resources.

“There are a lot of organizations that will be able to do some good work with it.”

The city’s request for $250,000 to help residents pay for storm shelters could be resubmitted as the city firms up plans for a shelter program and finalizes other funding sources, board members said during the meeting.

Debi Meeds, CEO of the Greater Ozarks Chapter of the Red Cross, said: “I understand there was a lot of competition for the funding. Our grant was for preparedness and resiliency programs. We’ll wait and see if we can get the money from another source, and we’ll certainly consider applying again.”

A ceremony to award the grants will be held at a date to be announced, Stinnett said.

All of the applicants may apply again when the board announces another round of funding later this year. There will be about $450,000 left in the fund for future grants.

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