March 21, 2011; Source: Chattanooga Times Free Press | The city council in Chattanooga, Tenn. is asking nonprofits it funds to spread their requests for funding among all the municipalities from which their clients come. Nearby municipalities have responded in ways that are unsurprising. Lookout Mountain Mayor Greg Brown says, “We don’t have them in our budget and we don’t have a surplus,” and the town manager of Signal Mountain says the town’s budget cannot be stretched to include donations and says they would need proof that local residents used the services. But many agencies are already making the rounds in the full understanding that they may often strike out. Chattanooga has requests for $2.1 million more than it can currently afford, although there is a chance that additional funds will be coming Chattanooga’s way through an expiring sales tax agreement with the county.
Meanwhile agencies already pressed by increased demand have another task on their plates. In some regions this is already standard practice. Has your nonprofit been faced with a similar request by local government?—Ruth McCambridge