Charity funding OK’d by council

GREENFIELD — Local nonprofits will receive a big funding boost from taxpayer dollars in 2017.

The Greenfield City Council this week voted to include more than $200,000 in the city’s 2017 budget to support social service organizations serving the city’s neediest residents; they include the local soup kitchen, homeless shelter and a proposed halfway house for women.

The organizations will use the funding to support operating expenses and renovations, along with other special projects.

The city council will take money from the city’s economic development fund, which currently has about $703,000 and generates approximately $48,700 monthly, to support the organizations and their causes.

Every year, the council receives grant requests from local groups and must decide on a case-by-case basis whether to fully fund organizers’ requests.

This year, they approved every request for funding, citing the worthy causes the 13 local organizations promote.

Hancock Hope House, a homeless shelter serving Hancock, Rush, Shelby and Henry counties, requested support for the first time in recent memory and will receive $25,000 next year to help sustain its mission of serving the homeless.

The Kenneth Butler Memorial Soup Kitchen requested $1,000, which it does each year, but the council chose to raise their contribution to $10,000 this year to help cover the cost of a sorely needed roof at the facility that serves lunch and dinner to hungry Hancock County residents.

Councilman Mitch Pendlum made the motion, saying it’s important the city support organizations that aid residents who have fallen on hard times.

“I have a big heart for the poor,” he said.

Jill Ebbert, the executive director of the Kenneth Butler Memorial Soup Kitchen, wasn’t at the meeting Thursday when the city voted to contribute to replacing the roof, which is estimated to cost $18,000. But when she learned about the contribution Friday morning, she was relieved, she said.

With the $10,000, the soup kitchen will be able to replace the roof without dipping into funding reserved for services, she said.

“I just cried like a baby,” she said. “I was just blown away at their generosity. … It couldn’t come at a better time.”

With support from the city, Friends of Recovery, the group spearheading the creation of a recovery home for women battling addiction, moves closer to meeting its goal of raising $250,000 to renovate a house on Main Street in Greenfield.

The group requested funding from the council in May. Thursday night, organizers told the council they’ll help teach women battling addiction how to move forward with their lives without depending on substances.

Requests for funding came from 11 nonprofits, a wellness committee for city employees and the Hancock Economic Development Council, and each was approved unanimously.

The council members said the money is a small investment that will have large returns in the long run.

“There’s not a plethora of social services in this county,” said councilman Joe Skvarenina. “People need these services.”

Other nonprofits receiving funding are Greenfield Main Street, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Hancock County, Hancock County Senior Services, Sister Cities, Regreening Greenfield, America in Bloom, Alternative Inc. and Leaders in Navigating Knowledge.

Worthy investment

The city of Greenfield will give more than $200,000 to support local nonprofits next year. Nonprofit organizations receiving taxpayer funding in 2017 include:

Greenfield Main Street – $33,000

Boys and Girls Clubs of Hancock County – $50,000

Kenneth Butler Memorial Soup Kitchen – $10,000

Hancock County Senior Services – $24,000

Sister Cities – $10,000

Regreening Greenfield – $10,000

America in Bloom – $2,000

Alternatives Inc. – $5,500

Hancock LINK – $10,000

Friends of Recovery – $25,000

Hancock Hope House – $25,000

Total – $204,500

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Samm Quinn is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at 317-477-3275 or squinn@greenfieldreporter.com.