City awards $30,000 in grants

The city of Cortez approved grant funding in the new year for child-abuse awareness, a children’s bicycle helmet program, a soup kitchen, an emergency shelter and for women’s health, to name a few.

Nearly two-dozen proposals totaling more than $65,000 were submitted to city officials for grant consideration in 2014. All but three agency requests were granted fully or partially at a total cost of $30,000.

“We have to be frugal with taxpayers money, but remain sensitive to those in need,” councilman Ty Keel said. “We have to find the right balance.”

Ensuring agencies impacted local residents without overlapping services were the main criteria municipal leaders considered.

“I want to make sure the money is not spent on administrative costs,” said councilman Tom Butler. “The money should be spent on our residents.”

The Montezuma County Health Department was one of five agencies that received its full funding request. The department was awarded a $1,000 grant from the city to provide bicycle helmets for second-graders in low-income families. Last year, the department was able to provide 82 bicycle helmets on its Safety Day, which has been in existence for the past 13 years. The helmets cost $5.25 each, plus shipping.

Grace’s Kitchen at St. Barnabas Church in Cortez also received its full grant request of $1,000. Operating for the past 15 years, the soup kitchen serves nutritious meals three days a week to the hungry.

“The meals we serve at Grace’s Kitchen directly impact the health and welfare of those community members who come to us,” said Rev. Leigh Waggoner.

The kitchen on West North Street serves about 850 people a month, with each meal costing about $2.

The Four Corners Child Advocacy Center was awarded its full $2,000 request. The Cortez-based nonprofit responds to child abuse and neglect.

The agency requested the city grant to support community outreach events during Child Abuse Awareness Month in April.

The Christian Emergency Shelter was awarded its full $3,000 request. The Cortez-based nonprofit was formed in 1998 to offer assistance to the needy.

With $7,500 last year for expenses, the Christian Emergency Shelter plans to use the city grant for operational expenses in 2014. In the past, the organization has helped fill prescriptions, purchase bus tickets and pay utility bills.

Operating for more than four decades, Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains also received its full grant request of $1,000 from the city to make life-saving cancer screenings more accessible and affordable. More than 70 percent of the organization’s patients live below the federal poverty level.