Nonprofit Fundraising Council invites beards, bouquets | Seminole

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SEMINOLE — Once again, with emotion.

On November 15, the city council began its annual review of nearly $40,000 in municipal grants to area nonprofits. But while there was early consensus on most recipients, board members used the workshop discussion to air out harsh criticism of certain groups and make various suggestions on how to proceed over the course of the workshop. the 2023 financial year.

Last year, the council donated $38,300 to more than a dozen organizations, in addition to a $20,000 contribution to the Greater Seminole Area Chamber of Commerce. A few board members suggested the group should step up their game if they were to receive more than 50% of the nonprofits allocation again.

“Over the past three and a half years there has been a decline in the chamber, in terms of business and the like,” said Roger Edelman, who earlier in the evening was elevated to deputy mayor by his board colleagues. “We expect the chamber (to operate) in a professional and professional manner, and that hasn’t happened in the recent past.”

House Speaker Allison Bean, an account manager at Tampa Bay Newspapers by profession, acknowledged that the pandemic years were difficult. But she said a noticeable rebound has already begun, with 285 chamber members currently – up nearly a third from its pandemic low.

“Our goal is still 300,” added Bean.

A few other board members urged the chamber to make more detailed quarterly reports in person to the board, and the chamber president assured them that would happen.

Bean also said recently hired chamber executive director Randi Nash-Ortiz, a Seminole resident and small-business owner, would attend an upcoming board meeting to introduce herself and her past affiliations, which include a long stint as executive administrator of a synagogue in the region.

Then Olliver — who, like Edelman, is a former Seminole chamber speaker — jumped to the chamber’s defense.

“I want to disagree with my good friend, the new deputy mayor,” he said. “There has been tremendous growth in the chamber. The vitality of the new members is palpable.

Bean was the only nonprofit leader interviewed at the workshop, and board members later thanked her for answering their questions. This included Edelman, who indicated he would not oppose the city’s FY23 grant to the chamber.

More bricks

The Seminole Youth Athletic Association, which received $1,000 in cash from the city last year, was in line for perhaps the sharpest beards of the evening.

City Clark Ann Marie Mancuso said “it took me about three tries” to find someone at SYAA who could come to City Hall to collect the city group’s contribution.

“It’s ridiculous,” Waters said. “We cannot impose these subsidies on organizations.”

And with that, there was broad consensus to strike the group off the FY23 contribution list.

Last year, Neighborly Care Network secured the second largest donation, at $3,000; Pinellas Hope-Catholic Charities and the nonprofit Pinellas Safe Harbor of the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office each received $2,500; and Interfaith Food Pantry received $2,300. Contributions to several other nonprofit organizations ranged from $500 to $1,000.

A total of $38,300 was again set aside in the FY23 budget. The Board will vote on the reworked list of recipients in December.

At the request of the mayor, the list of FY23 grants will include a new recipient, the Seminole-based Pinellas County Horse Foundation for the Handicapped. LIFT Academy, a special needs institution, has moved to Clearwater and will be dropped from the new list, which is limited to organizations in the Seminole area.

Interfaith Food Pantry, which last year had its usual contribution increased after a one-off request, this time will receive $1,300 if the preliminary consensus is approved. Keep Pinellas Beautiful, which received $500 last year, will receive $750 in FY23, as requested by the group.

Swearing-in ceremony

At the start of a bi-monthly council meeting preceding the nonprofits workshop, Judge Keith Meyer of Florida’s Sixth Circuit Court swore in three newly re-elected council members – without opposition –: Mayor Leslie Waters , Thom Barnhorn and Jim Olliver.

After that, it was time to decide this year’s vice mayor – Edelman, as it turned out, in a 4-2 vote in the third round of the six council members present. Council member Tom Christy, who is still recovering from a major health issue, was absent.

City Manager Ann Toney-Deal provided an update on the recreation master plan proposal by GAI Consultants, a national engineering firm with regional offices in Tampa.

GAI, which is the lead contender for developing a new recreation master plan for the city, said it would charge $107,000 to produce a plan outlining the needs of the city’s recreation department for the next few years. .

The plan would be the culmination of “a kind of needs assessment,” Toney-Deal said.

The company would detail current operations and infrastructure; assess future needs by integrating public comments; and develop an action plan for implementing its recommendations.

“This process is expected to take 12 months from the notice of suit, depending on the scheduling of meetings,” the company said.

GAI and another bidder, S&ME, made initial proposals for the project in August. But the council had waited for a more detailed proposal and fixed-cost commitment from GAI, its preferred bidder.

He still has to vote to approve the GAI contract, probably in December.

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