Concord gives $7 million to non-profits with many left off list

Concord gives $7 million to non-profits with many left off list
Some of the community groups chosen to for funding include Cancer Support Community, Friends of Camp Concord, White Pony Express and Concord’s Community Youth Center.

CONCORD, CA (Mar. 17, 2023) — The City Council allocated $7 million in one-time federal money to 22 local non-profits on March 7, with Councilmember Dominic Aliano acknowledging there was “not enough money, a whole lot of need and a lot of good causes.”

“We distributed the dollars that we thought were the biggest impact for the city of Concord on how it was going to help our community through COVID relief,” said Aliano, who sat on the Ad Hoc committee with Mayor Laura Hoffmeister.

The two pored over 1,500 pages of documents and conducted interviews with all but one of the 70 applicants requesting $34.4 million through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). Only projects and programs that benefit Concord’s residents were considered.

Aliano and Hoffmeister separately scored each applicant out of 100 points: 30 for general application review, 25 for partnerships and funding, 20 for community benefits, 15 for organizational capacity, and 10 for goals and objectives. City staff then compiled a funding list based on the total scores.

“We had more funds requested than we had available – even with the top scores. So, we had to go back and readjust,” Hoffmeister said. “It was a tough situation.”

Those ranked at the top of the final funding list were:

1. Bay Area Crisis Nursery, $75,000.
2. Friends of Camp Concord, $180,000.
3. White Pony Express, $200,000.
4. Cancer Support Community/SF Bay Area, $50,000.
5. Community Youth Center of Concord, $1.5 million.

Monument Impact, which was No. 17 on the committee’s list, also received $1.5 million. See chart at end of story for the full funding list.

Rainbow supporters rally

The 3-2 vote came after some council members and residents expressed concerns about organizations not being funded – including the Rainbow Community Center (RCC), the Unity Council preschool programs and the Terrapins competitive swim team.

Denisen Hartlove, who has two transgender children, was the first of many to speak during public comment about how RCC supports LGBTQ+ youth and their families.

“They offered acceptance and support groups for (my child), and resources and a community for our entire family that enabled us to move forward together,” Hartlove said.

“LGBTQ+ children remain at risk in so many places, even in our own community. The RCC provides invaluable help. Sadly, however, these efforts cannot be offered without financial support,” added Hartlove, who sits on the RCC board.

In an interview after the meeting, Councilmember Carlyn Obringer cited “the very passionate parents talking about the life-saving support that their youths have had from the center” as a reason why she voted against the committee’s plan.

“I felt that was new and compelling information that we definitely should have taken into consideration,” Obringer said.

Councilmember Laura Nakamura, who also voted no, told the Pioneer the council failed to “discuss and deliberate in public, to be inclusive in the consideration of alternatives and to negotiate compromises.”

Birsan’s plan rejected

Before the council vote, Vice Mayor Edi Birsan suggested taking 5 percent of the $7 million – or $350,000 – and letting him, Nakamura and Obringer indiscriminately allocate a third each. The idea died for lack of a second, and Birsan said he would “respect the intense work” done by the Ad Hoc committee.

In a Facebook post after the meeting, Birsan called himself “a long-time supporter of RCC” and said it was “a lock that Rainbow would get a major chunk” of the funds under his proposal.

In response, Hartlove said Birsan chose expediency over his duty to serve the residents.

“You have some nerve espousing support for your constituents and then refusing to take the time needed to come up with a well-considered solution for them. You are a false ally. You should be ashamed of yourself.”

ARPA is a $1.9 trillion federal COVID-19 stimulus package, of which Concord received more than $27 million. The city is also spending money on support for the unhoused, small businesses and city projects.

Councilmember Edi Birsan delves into the failure of his 5% “compromise” plan for non-profits, in the March 17 issue of the Pioneer.

List of recipients

Applicant Project Name Allocation
Bay Area Crisis Nursery Bay Area Crisis Nursery $75,000
BD Performing Arts BDPA Community Arts Programs $100,000
Cancer Support Community SF Bay Area Cancer Support Programs $50,000
Community Youth Center (CYC) of Concord Community Youth Center (CYC) of Concord Facilities Upgrade $1,500,000
Concord Historical Society Concord Heritage Center and History Museum $496,000
Contra Costa Economic Partnership (CCEP) Career Exposure Through Work-based Learning $200,000
Dentists on Wheels Pittsburg Free Dental Clinic at St. Vincent de Paul Dentist on Wheels Expansion Plan $200,000
Diablo Ballet Diablo Ballet Annual Season Programming and Educational Outreach in Concord $139,000
Friends Of Camp Concord Outdoor Equity – Camp Concord $180,000
Futures Explored, Inc. The Artist’s Den $150,000
Japanese American Religious and Cultural Center JARCC & Diablo JA Club Building Renovation and Centennial Documentary Film 2026 $215,000
La Clinica de La Raza, Inc. La Clinica Monument Medical Project $58,000
La Clinica de La Raza, Inc. Monument Optometry $500,000
Leaven Kids Leaven Kids Concord Centers $105,000
Meals on Wheels Diablo Region Breakfast Bags & Cultural Cuisine $700,000
Mindful Life Project Mindfulness for Concord Schools $111,000
Monument Impact Monument Families Recovery Program (MFRP) $1,500,000
Mt. Diablo Education Foundation Outdoor Educational Equity for Concord Students $58,000
Visit Concord Visit Concord Non-Profit Application $200,000
Visit Concord, CA Visit Concord Non-Profit Application- Accessible Concord $50,000
WHITE PONY EXPRESS Food Rescue Program $200,000
Yours Humanly Early Literacy Support for Concord Elementary Schools $213,000
Bev Britton
Bev Britton
Copy Editor at The Concord Clayton Pioneer |

Bev Britton graduated with a degree in journalism from the University of North Dakota and moved to the Bay Area with her soon-to-be husband Jim in 1986. She was features editor at the Contra Costa Times in Walnut Creek before becoming managing editor of the Contra Costa Sun in Lafayette in 1995. She retired from newsrooms in 2001, but an ad for the Clayton Pioneer drew her back in. The family moved to Lake Wildwood in the Gold Country a few years ago - but working at the Pioneer keeps her in touch with her old neighborhoods in Concord and Clayton.