Spokane Valley City Council sends $182,000 to nonprofits, economic development agencies

<p><p>Every year, the Spokane Valley City Council helps fund a range of nonprofits, covering services including economic development and food banks. </p></p><p><p>On Tuesday, the City Council voted to give out $182,000 to 15 organizations, after 18 groups asked for $582,000 in September. On top of the $182,000, the city is giving $43,000 to Greater Spokane Incorporated and $19,000 to the Greater Spokane Valley Chamber of Commerce.</p></p><p><p>Spokane Valley has been using the same “outside agency” funding distribution system since 2013.</p></p><p><p>Each City Council member creates a list, dividing the $182,000 among different agencies as they see fit.</p></p><p><p>Councilmembers submit their lists to the city’s finance director. Any organization that appeared on at least four councilmember lists gets a portion of the money.</p></p><p><p>The dollar amounts awarded to each organization are close to the averages of the recommendations of each council member. For instance, every councilmember said the HUB Sports Center should get between $3,000 and $5,000 and the organization ended up with $5,000.</p></p><p><p>Out of the city’s $182,000 pool, Spokane Valley Partners got the most of any agency, receiving $39,945.</p></p><p><p>That might not sound like a lot for a nonprofit that runs on $4.2 million a year. But Spokane Valley Partners CEO Cal Coblentz said the city’s contribution is important.</p></p><p><p>“That is a very large amount of cash for any one entity to give to a nonprofit for general operating funds,” he said.</p></p><p><p>Coblentz explained that Spokane Valley Partners often receives restricted donations. For instance, an individual might insist that her donation be spent on food.</p></p><p><p>The unrestricted money from Spokane Valley is helpful because it can go toward staffing costs or utility bills, Coblentz said.</p></p><p><p>“I can’t understate how important it is to have general operating funds,” he said. “It becomes very important when you’re trying to hire people and know that you can pay their health insurance.”</p></p><p><p>Coblentz said there’s an additional benefit to the city’s dollars that isn’t captured by the $39,945 figure.</p></p><p><p>The Valley’s financial support helps Spokane Valley Partners when it’s asking for money from other agencies, Coblentz explained. The contribution shows the city believes Valley Partners’ work is valuable.</p></p><p><p>“It helps a funder know, ‘OK, this is credible, the community believes in the mission that they’re doing,’ ” Coblentz said.</p></p><p><p>After Spokane Valley Partners, Greater Spokane County Meals on Wheels got the second most money, with $18,404. Valleyfest got the third most, with $17,214.</p></p><p><p>Valleyfest Executive Director Peggy Doering said the $17,214 is an important part of the festival’s roughly $220,000 budget.</p></p><p><p>She said the money will be especially important this year, after Valleyfest didn’t happen in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Marketing will be key for the festival in 2022.</p></p><p><p>“It’s important to the long-term strategy of any organization to remain viable in the community,” Doering said.</p></p><p><p>Other recipients include: Spokane Valley Arts Council ($15,500), Widows Might ($12,908), Project id ($12,714), JAKT Foundation ($12,051), Spokane Valley Heritage Museum ($11,622), Teen &amp; Kid Closet ($9,051), Spokane Valley Summer Theatre ($7,643), Spokane Valley Performing Arts Center ($6,357), NAOMI ($6,179), Elevations Children’s Therapy Resource Foundation ($5,837), HUB Sports Center ($5,000) and Northwest Winterfest ($4,571).</p></p>