Santa comes early for most groups seeking grant funds

SOLANA BEACH — Thanks to Santa Fe Christian Schools, Solana Beach Soccer Club and creative thinking on behalf of City Council, at least two-thirds of this year’s record number of applicants received funding from the Community Grants Program.

Initially, $25,000 was available to 19 organizations that sought $73,618 in aid. At the Nov. 19 meeting, representatives from the groups described to council members how the money would be used.

Since then the San Dieguito Heritage Museum, which ultimately didn’t receive any funding, reduced its request from $4,623 to $3,800 because some work was completed by a local Boy Scout troop.

The soccer club withdrew its application based on the high number of applicants that were more deserving, Danny King, assistant to the city manager, said.

That left 18 groups asking for $71,400. Santa Fe Christian, as it has done for the past several years, provided $15,000 of assistance to five organizations.

Casa de Amistad, the Boys & Girls Clubs of San Dieguito and Mano a Mano Foundation each received $3,000 from the private school, while La Colonia de Eden Gardens and the St. James and St. Leo Medical and Dental Program were granted $4,000 and $2,000, respectively.

For the fifth consecutive year the Community Resource Center received $5,000 from the city for its Holiday Baskets program that provides food, clothing and toys for low-income North County families in a warehouse shopping setting at the Del Mar Fairgrounds.

The Assistance League of Rancho San Dieguito was given $3,000 for its Operation School Bell Clothing Children program after Roberta Waterman, board president, promised to shop solely in Solana Beach.

“I don’t want to give them money to spend outside (the city),” Councilman Mike Nichols said.

The city also granted $3,000 to Solana Beach Little League to help replace the existing sports facility. The new structure will include restrooms and a kitchen, patio and storage area.

The city gave an additional $2,500 to St. James and St. Leo, which provides services for the working poor with no insurance, for its program that helps diabetes patients.

Another $2,500 was reluctantly granted to Reality Changers, which helps youth from disadvantaged backgrounds become first-generation college students by providing academic support, financial assistance and faith-based leadership training.

Participants from Solana Beach have earned Gates Millennium Scholarships.

“I liked it,” Councilman Dave Zito said. “It doesn’t serve that many people. So I was focusing on ones that might have a greater impact on a greater part of the community.”

“They sure produce, though,” Mayor Lesa Heebner said.

“They really do amazing work,” Councilman Peter Zahn added. “I would urge my colleagues to consider those guys.”

“I was not interested in giving them any money,” Councilwoman Ginger Marshall said. “They seem like they get a lot from the Bill Gates Foundation, and just some of these other charities seem like they could really use it more.”

The Boys & Girls Clubs of San Dieguito, Casa de Amistad and the San Dieguito River Valley Conservancy each received $2,000. BikeWalkSolana, DelSol Lions and La Colonia de Eden Gardens each were awarded $1,000.

In addition to the San Dieguito Heritage Museum, Encinitas-based H2O Trash Patrol, North County Immigration and Citizenship Center, Calvary Lutheran Church and the Solana Center for Environmental Innovation did not receive any funding.

North Coast Repertory Theatre requested $5,000 for a youth production to raise awareness of the plight of girls in Afghanistan. Council members suggested seeking funding from the Public Arts Commission, as was done successfully in the past.

The grant program was approved in 2004 with $5,000 each from Coast Waste Management and EDCO Waste and Recycling Services, the city’s two waste haulers, and $15,000 from the city.

The program provides funding to nonprofit, nongovernmental groups and civic or youth organizations serving Solana Beach and its residents. In recent years the focus has been on groups that help the underserved in the community.

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