Bethel awards Community Action Grants

The City of Bethel has awarded grants to six organizations through the Community Action Grant fund program. The Year 3/Quarter 1 award recipients are the Cama-i Dance Festival ($10,000), Kuskokwim Art Guild Afterschool Art Program ($2,890), Kuskokwim Art Guild Summer Art Camp ($1,994), Native Village of Napaimute ($9,995), Bethel Friends of Canines ($8,820), and the Orutsararmiut Native Council ($3,500).

The City of Bethel established the Community Action Grant Program (CAG) to allow community and individuals to request financial support for programs or events that contribute to the health, welfare, and overall quality of life for residents of Bethel, especially its most vulnerable populations. The Community Action Grant Technical Review Board was created to develop a process to solicit grant applications, review them, and recommend funding selections to City Council.

During the March 24th, 2020 regular city council meeting, CAG Technical Review Board Member Leif Albertson gave Council his report and said that because of the Coronavirus it was recommended that the Council direct administration to check in with the grantees to ensure that they can still perform the plans they proposed.

Action Memorandum 20-11 was approved after an amendment was made to evaluate the need of the funding with the applicant. AM 20-11 passed unanimously.

In the City Grant Manager’s Report, dated April 6th, 2020, it was noted that two of the six approved community action grant checks were funded: Native Village of Napaimute and Bethel Friends of Canines. The other four were impacted by the COVID-19 response and will be distributed when, and if appropriate, said the report.

Funding for the program comes from 20% of the Alcohol Tax collected by the City. Back in January, Bethel went back into local option resulting in reduced sales tax on alcohol. Sales tax is still collected from restaurant alcoholic beverage sales.

The next application period opens May 1st. The CAG Board will be meeting on June 2nd and June 10th to review the applications. Payment will be made on June 26th pending council approval.