San Juan Island Community Foundation will award $50K to local non-profits to alleviate impacts of economic downturn

The San Juan Island Community Foundation will award more than $50,000 in grants to local non-profits Wednesday, 5:30-7 p.m. in a ceremony at the San Juan Community Theatre.

The event is open to the public.

The funds will be used to support basic food distribution, healthcare and children's services. A portion of the funds will be dedicated to improving the capacity of our existing community organizations that are faced with rapidly growing requests for services.

The grants are the result of several months of study by more than 300 local volunteers with the Critical Needs Task Force. The Task Force, formed early this year under the sponsorship of the San Juan Island Community Foundation, studied local needs from February to May and developed a list of short-term funding priorities which will help lessen the impact of the economic crisis and support the process of local economic recovery.

The community foundation is a non-profit philanthropic umbrella organization helping donors, non-profits and public organizations "to achieve their goals through direct grants, organizational assistance and philanthropic resource management." The Critical Needs Task Force grew from the foundation's desire to address the immediate critical needs in the community as a result of the economic downturn.

The following organizations or programs will receive funding:

— San Juan Access. Partner organizations: San Juan Island Community Foundation and San Juan Island Library.

Current information about non-profit organizations and services is scattered and/or incomplete or outdated. This new county-wide services database will profile all organizations and services. Information will be accessible through a Web browser interface. Client access will be text based and simple to use and navigate. The service provider interface will allow instant updates of service profiles and keyword access to services. Cross links between providers and services will be incorporated to aid client navigation.

— Hot Lunch, Meals-on-Wheels, Hospice Expansion. Partner programs/organizations: Senior Services, Meals-on-Wheels, Hospice.

Utilization of the Senior Center hot lunch program has doubled from 2008 to 2009. This plan will expand existing programs from two days per week to three days, coordinate for efficient service with Meals-on-Wheels and Hospice, and broaden the recipient base to include every person in need of a healthy meal. This three-month pilot program known as Wednesday Lunch for All will begin as soon as funds are available. Total cost $7,400, with estimated $2,400 in revenue.

— Increase Service Capacity for Food Bank. Partner programs/organizations: Food Bank.

The San Juan Island Food Bank served approximately 10 percent of island households in 2008. Usage and demand have nearly doubled. Additional shelving is needed to stock and supply the extra food.

— Community Health Services Information and Education Campaign. Partner programs/organizations: Senior Services, Family Resource Center, San Juan Island Community Foundation, San Juan Island Library.

Members of the Healthcare Task Force and other Critical Needs Task Force working groups have been surprised to learn how many programs and services are currently available at Mullis Community Senior Center and other specific local sites. A number of these services and programs are open to the entire community but publicity has been limited.

This campaign will consolidate the wide spectrum of information about existing medical and social services programs into one, easy-to-use and understand resource. (and be used to pre-announce the San Juan Access database). The layout and printing of the publication will be managed by the San Juan Island Community Foundation. Distribution will be selective, through the schools, public health department, senior services, library, online papers, service organizations, food bank, family resource center.

— Prescription Drug Support. Partner programs/organizations: San Juan Island Family Resource Center, schools.

Basic Health Insurance has stopped accepting applicants until its state-subsidized rolls are reduced by 40,000 participants. This will eliminate this valuable low-income option for many people for years to come. Medicaid is only available to those who are aged, blind or disabled, leaving out most low-income people.

Prescription drugs are the highest-value tool to allow those with chronic illness to function in the community and remain independent outside medical institutions. This is a three-month pilot program to provide temporary funding of prescription medications when other resources fail.

— Preschool Scholarships. Partner programs/organizations: San Juan Island Family Resource Center, Lighthouse Preschool.

Supporting children, who are the most vulnerable in times of family stress, by offering a pre-school opportunity to every child. This is an expansion of existing scholarship opportunities to low and middle income families. Parents will pay at least half of tuition.

— Preschool-to-Kindergarten Transitions Program. Partner programs/organizations: Family Resource Center, Friday Harbor Elementary School, United Way.

This is expansion of a successful nine-year-old program to ensure a successful start for identified children entering public school kindergarten. This program not only supports children, but also supports their parents and promotes parent involvement in their child’s first school experience. Positive results have been shown through this pre- and post-measurable program and are available upon request from the Family Resource Center.

— Summer School Scholarships. Partner programs/organizations: San Juan Island Family Resource Center, public schools.

Support a three-week, half-day summer school program at Friday Harbor Elementary School. Program is tuition-based but most are anticipated to be unable to pay. Expect to serve 25-35 children.

— FerryPass: Financial assistance for off-island transportation. Partner programs/organizations: San Juan Island Family Resource Center.

Gap funds for off-island transportation for unemployment and medically needed ferry transportation. This is a three-month pilot program. To be administered by the Family Resource Center.

— Adult English-language classes. Partner programs/organizations: Family Resource Center, DVSAS.

Expand existing English-language classes and daycare program.

— Jobs Bulletin Boards. Partner programs/organizations: Family Resource Center, Food Bank.

Locate a bulletin board at the Food Bank and the Family Resource Center. Explore utilization of existing Kiwanis board at the post office for use as a job board.

— Create a San Juan Volunteer Corps. Partner programs/organizations: Schools, friends and neighbors, Senior Services, Family Resource Center, etc.

Expand and coordinate existing volunteer programs to support local schools, seniors and others in need. Includes financial and legal services hotline and other programs. To be coordinated with the Library.

— Scholarship support for Camp Eagle Rock. Partner programs/organizations: Family Resource Center, Island Rec.

Existing scholarships do not meet the needs of many families. Additional finances will provide for up to 29 children to participate in a safe and enriching environment during the summer.

— Financial support to the San Juan Island Family Resource Center. Partner programs/organizations: San Juan Island Family Resource Center.

To support increased use and expansion of programs and to create and coordinate new programs supported by the Critical Needs Task Force process.

— Critical Need Program Reserve Grantee: San Juan Island Community Foundation Healthy Community Fund.

Community Foundation chairman Charles Anderson said many of the programs are pilot programs which, if successful, will require long-term funding. The reserve has been created to help fund these during the transition period while permanent funding is secured.

The following is a partial list of mid- and long-term initiatives that are being studied as a result of the Critical Needs Task Force workgroup community conversations:

1. San Juan Access: Comprehensive, Web-based community services portal. Online services database.

2. Invest Locally: Private investment for return in local projects.

3. Community Development Corporation: Non-profit corporation, locally governed, which combines private investment, philanthropy, grants, public monies and funds local community infrastructure projects of all kinds. Also cooperatively lends money, handles mortgages and micro loans.

4. Shop Locally: Keep dollars in our own community.

5. Buy Local Foods: Education, source identification, certification and market development to encourage purchase of local foods in order to increase food quality and safety while reducing our carbon footprint and giving a boost to the local economy.

6. Broadband Initiative: Health care, EMS, video conferencing, remote education and tech business development over the Internet.

7. Public Benefit Jobs Program: Local WPA-like project hiring locals for the public benefit.

8. Community Resource Center: Single point access to all community services, trained services navigation staff, referrals for all.

9. San Juan Volunteer Corps: Centralized facility and coordination staff linking volunteers with projects. Training, scheduling, logistics provided.

10. San Juan Community Center: Community center accommodating public and non-profit organizations with shared administrative resources.

11. Community Ferry Pass: Subsidized ferry passes for the needy for mainland medical and government services trips.

12. San Juan Community Comprehensive Housing Plan: Broad coverage housing plan covering ownership and rentals for all income levels with emphasis on workforce housing.

13. Community Bulletin Boards: System of bulletin boards focused on casual labor, rideshare and volunteer opportunities.

14. San Juan Financial & Legal Services Hotline: Financial and legal services information hotline for information and referrals to those in immediate need.

15. Quality Education (Q.E.D.): Targeted funding of educational enrichment components that face budget cuts. Advanced placement, arts, music etc.

16. San Juan Arts Council: Coordinated group in support of all arts, performance and music programs. Funding, coordination, publicity.

17. San Juan Mentors: Tapping into the highly skilled and educated island population for education at all age levels.

18. Reserve Medical Corps: Volunteer (retired/off-duty) medical personnel to provide services in times of public health emergencies.

19. Local Health Insurance Co-op: Basic insurance program to cover wellness and local medical diagnostics and treatments.

20. San Juan Transport: Tightly integrated island and interisland personal transport system for healthcare, meetings and events.

22. Community Sustainable Agriculture: Comprehensive farm-to-local consumer program integrating preserved farmland, farmers, co-op equipment, transport, processing and storage, retail distribution and market pull.

23. GrantShare: General service organization cooperative grant program emphasizing interchangeable applications, coordinated review and cooperative funding.

24. TeleServices: Video conference access to remote state and federal services (DSHS, Employment Security).

25. Life Skills Training: Training for middle school, high school and adults in basic financial and legal issues that affect everyday life.

26. Public Art: Display and performance art for public spaces.

27. Urban Greenspace: Public green space areas emphasizing community use and activities.

28. Everyone Eats Well: Pay-as-you-can healthy lunch programs for all ages, all year round.

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