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State launches grant program to send $30 million in federal relief to nonprofits

Sean Golonka
Sean Golonka
GovernmentState Government
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The governor’s office announced on Thursday the launch of a $30 million community grant program using American Rescue Plan funds that will deliver money directly to Nevada nonprofits to be used for relief services as early as February.

The announcement first came at a meeting of the Interim Finance Committee on Thursday, where lawmakers highlighted the need to quickly move the relief dollars, which represent a small portion of the state’s $6.7 billion share of American Rescue Plan funds, into communities that are still struggling from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“There's still some significant needs in my community, in Southern Nevada. I see it every day, and I think that the desire of all parties involved is to get that money out as soon as humanly possible,” Committee Chair Sen. Chris Brooks (D-Las Vegas) said.

The state will be accepting grant applications online from Dec. 9 through Jan. 3 with a focus on investing dollars into education, public health, jobs, child care and housing, according to the program’s website. After ideas are vetted by the governor’s office, each grant — which will vary by amount based on the application — will have to be approved by the committee, likely at its upcoming meeting in February, before those dollars can be distributed.

Assemblywoman Jill Tolles (R-Reno) said the Jan. 3 deadline for applications may not provide enough time to get the word out about the program and have nonprofits apply, as organizations deal with the holidays and year-end business. But in a statement announcing the launch of the program, Gov. Steve Sisolak echoed the need to move federal relief funds into the community with haste.

“Through the Nevada Recovers Listening Tour, we heard loud and clear from Nevadans that there’s an urgent need for relief in our communities now,” Sisolak said. “This grant will allow us to use the existing expertise and networks of non-profits in the State to meet the needs of Nevadans.”

Bailey Bortolin, deputy chief of staff to Sisolak, told lawmakers on Thursday that through a previous survey, the governor’s office received ideas for spending American Rescue Plan dollars from about 350 nonprofits. Bortolin noted that the governor’s office “will reach back to … the hundreds of nonprofits that submitted ideas about ways that they could help the community” and direct them to submit applications for the grant.

As the governor’s office prepares to spend $30 million of federal funds, the state still has nearly $2 billion in unallocated general aid dollars from the American Rescue Plan. Members of the committee approved a $1.4 million contract with Innovative Emergency Management to develop a roadmap for spending those funds over the next several years. That roadmap will be based on thousands of ideas gathered by state officials through a monthslong, statewide listening tour.

Still, millions from the state’s share of American Rescue Plan funds have already been allocated for specific purposes.

“Watching literally billions of dollars going to the areas that have been affected the most over the last six months, it's been a literal lifesaver for so many Nevadans and for our economy,” Brooks said.

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