February 10, 2015; Sioux City Journal

Here’s another example of the critical importance of advocacy by community-based nonprofit service providers. It illustrates the fact that public funds don’t come only from the federal government in Washington, but are appropriated by local elected officials, as well.

The Sioux City Journal reports that the Board of Supervisors in Woodbury County (home of Sioux City in western Iowa) has ended its longstanding practice of giving tax money to nonprofits.

The board approved allocations to a few agencies but cut funds for more than a dozen others, in some cases funding certain programs while cutting off support for others. This upset some nonprofits, particularly those who applied for money for the first time after the county said last year that it would expand its funding programs. The requests ranged from $3,000 to $33,076.

Advocates told the county it shouldn’t have launched a new process if it didn’t intend to give out money, but newly elected supervisors told the paper that the county can’t afford to give money to services that aren’t required by state law.

Particularly hard hit were agencies that primarily serve low-income residents because they are not as successful at traditional big donor fundraising. Their supporters packed the board room to no avail.—Larry Kaplan