Goleta City Council discusses grant funding for COVID-19-impacted nonprofits and businesses at Tuesday’s meeting.
Goleta City Council members discuss grants for COVID-19-impacted nonprofits and businesses at Tuesday’s meeting. (Brooke Holland / Noozhawk photo)

The Goleta City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to award local nonprofits a total of $80,000 to continue providing critical services during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. 

Of the 57 applications, 33 organizations received some grant assistance for the fiscal year 2020-21, which started July 1.

Goleta’s grant program provides awards of up to $5,000 each for organizations involved in providing public services, educational and cultural activities, recreation, and Goleta-oriented special events and regional projects that enhance the quality of life in Goleta. 

An additional $20,000 will be used throughout the next fiscal year to support nonprofit sustainability and one-time events.

For the 2020-21 fiscal year, the $80,000 in city grant funding will be paid from Goleta’s general fund budget.

Mayor Paula Perotte and Mayor Pro Tempore Kyle Richards, plus two appointed Goleta residents, serve on the city’s Grant Funding Review Standing Committee, which recommended the amount of funding to recipients of the program. 

“Every year that I’ve done this grant committee I’ve said, ‘Oh my gosh this was such a hard decision and there were so many incredibly wonderful applications,’” Perotte said. “We wanted to fund them all, but this year was extremely difficult, and we did the best that we could.”

The most money went to Interfaith Initiative of Santa Barbara for Showers of Blessing ($5,000), Unitarian Society of Santa Barbara for the Freedom Warming Centers ($5,000), and Community Action Commission of Santa Barbara County for the senior nutrition program ($5,000).

City funding also will go to Child Abuse Listening Mediation for mental health consultation ($4,950), Equalitech ($4,950), Family Service Agency of Santa Barbara County for a long-term care ombudsman ($4,950), Food From The Heart ($4,950), Habitat for Humanity of Southern Santa Barbara County to assist with home repairs for low and moderate-income homeowners ($4,950), and Transition House for the family homeless shelter ($4,950), among other nonprofits.

Nonprofits that received $500 include Animal Shelter Assistance Program, Gateway Educational Services, Goleta Valley Girls Softball Association, Goleta Valley Junior High PTA, Santa Barbara County Trails Council, Santa Barbara Partners in Education, United Way of Santa Barbara County, Boy Scouts of America Los Padres Council, and AHA!: Attitude. Harmony. Achievement.

The money went to 16 nonprofits considered in the “essential services” category ($59,500) and 17 organizations deemed as “services continuing to operate” ($20,500).

Essential services were selected by a team familiar with each nonprofit engaged in the needs of the community during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the city.

A representative from the Community Action Commission and Standing Together to End Sexual Assault, formerly known as the Santa Barbara Rape Crisis Center, spoke over the phone at the virtual council meeting to express their gratitude to Goleta officials for their ongoing support.

“These funds will ensure we can continue to provide hot, nutritionally balanced meals to seniors at no cost,” said Patricia Keelean, chief executive officer of the Community Action Commission. “We appreciate the opportunity to partner with the city of Goleta to address the issue of food insecurity among the seniors in our community.” 

The Goleta City Council on Tuesday also decided to set aside up to $5,000 — pending an application from Juneteenth Santa Barbara, and to be used at the discretion of City Manager Michelle Greene.

“At the appropriate time, if there is concurrence from the council, I would like to support including them (Juneteenth Santa Barbara) for this fiscal year,” Goleta City Councilman James Kyriaco said. “I’d be open to either capacity building or for next year’s event.”

For a complete list of organizations awarded, click here.

COVID-19 Small Business Assistance Programs

The Goleta City Council also voted unanimously Tuesday to partner with two local nonprofits to provide funding for small businesses affected during the pandemic.

The city is partnering with Women’s Economic Ventures (WEV) and Santa Barbara Foundation to provide funding assistance to Goleta-based small businesses with a focus on reopening needs to comply with the ever-changing public health guidelines.

Richards said he thinks “this is a good thing for our community.”

“These are two organizations — the Santa Barbara Foundation and Women’s Economic Ventures — that are well-respected in the community,” Richards said. “They do good work, and they have made a huge difference and impact for our residents.”

The assistance program could become the initiation of an economic recovery effort for businesses in Goleta, city staff said. 

“It’s the first step in helping our businesses and community recover from the effects of COVID-19,” said Vyto Adomaitis, the city’s neighborhood services and public safety director.

Both programs would be managed by Goleta’s Neighborhood Services and Public Safety Department through partnerships with WEV and the Santa Barbara Foundation. 

The city’s Economic Development and Revitalization Standing Committee recommended proceeding with WEV’s $200,000 request for the ReStart Loan and small business basic loan program, as well as the Santa Barbara Foundation’s $50,000 request to support its Santa Barbara Better Together small business grant assistance program.

The $250,000 will come from the general fund’s unassigned balance for a one-time use of about $5.5 million, unless California state or federal COVID-19 relief funds are disbursed to the city for that use.

Santa Barbara Better Together is providing financial assistance for small local businesses where there are gaps in federal and foundation money during the pandemic.

“The money, which is a fairly small amount given the need in the community for small businesses to truly get what they need to reopen, is being targeted in the most effective way,” said Jackie Carrera, president and CEO of the Santa Barbara Foundation. “We have a specific targeted outreach program that we will be working with the chamber (Santa Barbara South Coast Chamber of Commerce) for minority-owned businesses as well.”

WEV’s ReStart Loan and basic startup and expansion loans seek to provide money to small businesses in an emergency such as COVID-19 and as a potentially continued source of funding to expand or start a small business. 

Kathy O’Dell, CEO of WEV and Goleta resident, said, “Goleta has an outstanding record of fostering entrepreneurs.”

Noozhawk staff writer Brooke Holland can be reached at bholland@noozhawk.com. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.