MARTINEZ, Calif. – When the Martinez City Council adopts its 2019-21 budget, likely next month, it will be awarding grants to a variety of nonprofit organizations that have requested funding for community events and services.
Many of the applicants have past records with the city, although a few are asking for money for the first time.
Among the newcomers is Feet First Foundation, the organization that began when a client, Dan Dorsett, realized that lessons he learned in Sean Sharkey’s FightKore boxing gym could help those dealing with a variety of problems. The two developed programs that helped abused people and other victims gain confidence and learn how to handle those difficulties.
Feet First has expanded into Martinez Unified School District as a way for students to learn how to handle their emotions and to overcome bullying.
The nonprofit organization has asked for $10,000 for its program to help children focus, concentrate and learn discipline through boxing practices.
But that would have taken the bulk of the $12,500 the Council normally allocates to organizations. In fact, the city normally spends $10,000 from the General Fund on these grants, and uses another $2,500 from its recycle fund as well.
But were those figures carved in stone, Councilmember Mark Ross asked. “It’s your budget – you make the decision,” City Manager Eric Figueroa said.
Groups asked for more than $30,000 from the city, and the Council struggled with assigning recommended funding., which could be modified further before the budget is adopted.
Feet First is on course to receive $2,500 after Councilmember Debbie McKillop reminded the panel how the organization had appeared at a regular meeting to explain its program, to celebrate Feet First Day and to introduce youth participants and adults who help guide them.
“They’ve done a remarkable job to inspire children to think about their actions,” she said.
Ross agreed, saying the program has spread to other cities, but was started here in Martinez. He recommended the Council increase its overall giving and asked that $2,500 be earmarked for Feet First.
Another new group is Alhambra High School Parent Teacher Student Association, which asked for $3,000 to provide teacher grants, school scholarship and student healthy snack items during final examinations and state testing weeks.
That organization originally had been funded primarily through Safeway Stores e-scrip program. But that’s been dropped. Concerned that awarding money to this group could prompt requests from College Park High School, the Council tentatively decided to award $400 after Vice Mayor Noralea Gipner recommended parents undertake fundraising themselves.
But concerns for homebound older residents led the Council to recommend awarding Meals on Wheels its requested $2,500.
RES Success, which wanted $1,838.44 to buy touchscreen technology for its Tablet Learning Centers for Success, in order to serve 60 people daily, is recommended to receive $1,000.
Martinez Historical Society asked for $1,500 and is recommended to receive $1,000 for its home tour
The Martinez Arts Association requested $1,500 for its 50th annual Art in the Park live music event Aug. 18 in Susana Park, but the Council recommended giving the organization $800.
Contra Costa County Historical Society also wanted $1,500 for ongoing programs, but is recommended to get $800 as well.
Worth a Dam, which organizes the annual Beaver Festival, asked for $1,300 and was recommended to receive $500.
Loaves and Fishes of Contra Costa, which provides midday meals to the area’s hungry, asked for $1,000 but the Council recommended $500.
Safe and Sober Bulldogs, organizers of Alhambra High School’s Grad Night Event, wanted $1,000 and is recommended to get $500.
The Juvenile Hall Auxiliary requested $1,000 for a post-detention workforce development program internship, and the Council has recommended $500 instead.
The Boys and Girls Club wants $900 for a summer evening movie screening program, and the Council suggested $500.
Hospice Foundation of the East Bay asked for $00 for its Tree of Lights ceremony, and the Council tentatively agreed to that amount.
Likewise, College Park High School’s Grad Night asked for $500 for its event, which the Council has recommended for funding.
Although they’ve asked for money in the past, neither the Sea Scouts nor CASA, whose members advocate for foster children, submitted an application this year.
Final decision on these grants will be made in conjunction with the city budget’s adoption.