The city of Lakewood is one step away from creating a one-time emergency grant program that would assist nonprofit organizations serving Lakewood residents. The program, known as the COVID-19 Impact …
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The city of Lakewood is one step away from creating a one-time emergency grant program that would assist nonprofit organizations serving Lakewood residents.
The program, known as the COVID-19 Impact Grant Program, was approved by Lakewood City Council on first reading at a virtual April 27 meeting. If passed on second reading, which is set for May 11, Lakewood will allocate $100,000 from its reserves to the program.
The COVID-19 Impact Grant Program will target nonprofit organizations who are working to respond to COVID-19 related impacts affecting the Lakewood community, if passed on second reading.
“These are taxpayer dollars. It’s the community’s money, and I think we should put the community’s money to work for the community during these times as quickly as we can,” said Lakewood City Councilmember Dana Gutwein.
To be eligible for the grant, Lakewood nonprofits must have a principal place of business in Jefferson County, be registered as a nonprofit with the Colorado Secretary of State, have been in operation continuously for at least three years and must be able to spend any funds granted within two years.
Grants from the program will only be considered for the purchase of goods and supplies or to assist with provision of services, Lakewood documents read.
Services and purchases of goods must be used for relief for Lakewood residents. Nonprofits who apply for the grant will be judged on if they have clear goals and impact measures and can show that Lakewood residents will receive services or goods through the grant funds.
“This is the kind of money that can bring some immediate relief that may not come very quickly with a bureaucratic state or bureaucratic federal government that is taking a while to get money to some of these resources,” said Lakewood City Councilmember Jacob LaBure.
Nonprofits teaming up
It was only two months ago when the Gold Crown Foundation’s facility was filled with children who took part in the nonprofit’s free after-school learning programs.
At that same time, the sound of basketballs being dribbled up and down Gold Crown’s basketball courts could be heard loud and clear in its Lakewood headquarters.
But since COVID-19 changed life at Gold Crown, a different sound has taken over the nonprofit’s basketball courts — the sound of residents packing food.
Gold Crown, which offers youth sports and education focused programs, has teamed up with Jeffco Eats, a Lakewood based organization that provides free food to children in Lakewood, Wheat Ridge, Edgewater and Arvada.
Gold Crown’s fieldhouse is being used as a storage and distribution center for Jeffco Eats where bags of food are being packed weekly and given to families in need.
“I guess a way to put it is it starts with our philosophy of what more can we do,” said Bill Hanzlik, co-founder of Gold Crown.
Hanzlik said the two nonprofits pack around 1,200 to 1,300 bags of food a week. That food is then distributed through effco Public Schools to children for the weekend and to seniors who live in Section 8 Housing. Children 18 years and younger can pick up breakfast and lunch from those hubs for free.
Barb Moore, executive director of Jeffco Eats, said the partnership with Gold Crown was a godsend and has allowed for her volunteers to stay six feet apart from each other when packing food.
“We hope to continue this collaboration because there is a community impact side. (Gold Crown has) community partners, we have community partners, and the more community partners collaborate, the more we can lessen suffering,” said Moore.
Hanzlik was appointed as a Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army in 2019, so he has been able to arrange for 15 to 20 soldiers to help pack up food with Jeffco Eats.
“(The soldiers) are fantastic. The army is not only big about serving our country, but they want to give back,” he said.
On Tuesdays, Gold Crown provides perishable food like milk, yogurt and eggs to familie. The nonprofit also provides $50 King Soopers gift cards to families weekly.
“We are in the food distribution business now,” said Hanzlik.
Gold Crown revenue has been hurt by the pandemic, but Hanzlik says the nonprofit has applied for grants, and it can currently stay in business for a year.
“We don’t have the revenue that we had coming in off our sports programs. We’re still paying salaries (to Gold Crown employees), but we have been smart,” said Hanzlik. “We operate as a business, we’re not going to be hand to mouth.”
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