CAP Program Makes It Into the Budget; Neighborhood Associations Await Decisions on Grants for Projects

San Jose San Jose’s Community Action and Pride grant program was saved for another year thanks to money leftover from other years, San Jose City Council support and lobbying from residents.

Dumpster Day is a popular CAP-funded activity.

Neighborhood Associations across San Jose are hoping that funding for projects, activities and events will continue beyond the 2012-2013 budget.

“It’s integral to the life of the city’s neighborhood associations,” said Bob Dolci,Lyndale board member of Neighborhood Association in East San Jose. “It’s integral to what we do.”

Fifty-four groups applied by the June 22, 2012, deadline for grants ranging from $300 to $1,500 in Cycle 26.  The groups will be notified in mid-July if they received some of the $100,000 grant fund, said Ken Podgorsek, director of United Neighborhoods of Santa Clara County, the agency that administers the CAP grants for the city.

Sixty-four groups were awarded CAP grants for this fiscal year, which ends June 30, 2012. The associations spent their money on such events as National Night Out, holiday mixers and summer socials; such activities as cleanups, yard sales, resource fairs and movie nights; and to pay for the costs of keeping a group going – flyers and newsletters, food for meetings and forums, web sites, hotlines, UNSCC dues and insurance required for events.  Click here for a complete list of funded activities for the 2011-2012 year.

For the first time, a portion of Ernest Guzman, executive analyst with the city manager’s office, said a portion of the CAP funding would be used to create a mini-grant program that would fund small projects, including beautification efforts, said Ernest Guzman, executive analyst with the City Manager’s Office. Applications for those grants will be available for attendees of the fall Neighborhood Development Training Conference on September 29, 2012 at San Jose State University.

The grants are administered for the city by United Neighborhoods of Santa Clara County, which also provides $111 worth of insurance for each member association. UNSCC dues are $200 a year. Administration costs last year were $10,000, Podgorsek said.

The CAP grants  last year range from $500 to $5,000, and applicants submit detailed accounts of how the money will be used. Grantees must provide matching funds in the form of volunteer hours, but groups also leverage the city’s investment by soliciting donations from businesses and other neighborhoods interests for an event.

“Neighborhoods are very creative,” Podgorsek said. “The average leverage on CAP grants far exceeds 200 percent.”

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