15 Santa Ana nonprofits to be awarded $769151 of $5.7 million federal grants

SANTA ANA — More than $760,000 in federal money will be given to 15 Santa Ana nonprofit organizations, the city announced.

The City Council, on Tuesday, April 18, approved allocating the funds, which are coming from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. On a 5-0 vote, with Councilmen Vincent Sarmiento and Sal Tinajero absent, the panel approved an estimated $5.7 million Community Development Block Grant Program for the 2017-18 fiscal year, which is subject to adjustment once the funds are awarded.

Nonprofits selected for funding – most serving youth, families and providing legal and other types of aid – are slated to get $769,151 total.

“We have a list of organizations that have a long history (in Santa Ana),” Councilman David Benavides said. “There have been some challenges that our community is facing. As soon as we can demonstrate our commitment as a city, getting behind our organizations that are doing effective work and impacting our community, it’s important for us to send that message.”

City departments handling administration and planning, code enforcement, economic development, capital improvements and housing were also awarded tens of thousands of dollars to more than a million dollars for various initiatives.

The block grants are given yearly to entitled cities and counties to help them provide decent housing and expand economic opportunities, especially to benefit low- to moderate-income people, according to Santa Ana officials. The recipients are chosen through a competitive process.

Among nonprofits, the largest award, $75,000, was granted to The Illumination Foundation for its Children’s Resource Center project providing an aftershool program to homeless and at-risk youth. The second highest amount, $67,992, was allocated to the Orange County Children’s Therapeutic Arts Center for its crime prevention and intervention program for Willard Middle School families.

The Boys Girls Club of Santa Ana received $60,000 for its College Bound program, and the Delhi Center got $58,271 for its project engaging teens in learning and leadership. America on Track was granted $57,000 for its Brighter Futures for Children of Prisoners project offering educational, nutritional and wraparound services.

“We’re seeing amazing results,” Claire Braeburn, executive director of America on Track, said Tuesday. “College instead of prison, building their confidence, getting them to graduate high school.”

The awards to nonprofits come after the council in February canceled the Community Enhancement Program that would have distributed $500,000 in grants to education, arts, health and sports programs for youth.

Councilman Jose Solorio said the Community Development Block Grant Program award amount was the largest the city has ever given to nonprofits and more beneficial to organizations than the one-time Community Enhancement Program funds that weren’t awarded.

“It wasn’t a transparent process and the accountability and reporting measures weren’t as strong,” Solorio said of the latter.