Nonprofits in Benton County can ask for help to pay for anti-crime or anti-gang programs without being part of a law enforcement agency themselves.
The county is accepting proposals for its second round of contract funding requests since a new public safety tax was approved in 2014.
The 0.03 percent sales and use tax helps pay for these programs, and any additional money is then distributed to local law enforcement in Kennewick, Richland, Prosser and surrounding areas.
“This isn’t a grant program,” said Shyanne Faulconer, community programs and public relations coordinator for Benton County. “This is a contract we initiate with these organizations to provide a service for us.”
The county started accepting applications on Sept. 1, and will continue to do so through Sept. 30.
Any nonprofit registered as 501(c)3 or 501(c)4 with the Internal Revenue Service can submit a program proposal, even if their main mission isn’t crime or gang activity prevention. However, the proposals themselves should be, Faulcone said.
During the first round, five local nonprofits had proposals accepted. They were approved based on how much money they needed and how much the county could pay for.
“We really can’t anticipate how many applications we’re going to get this round, because it’s still such a new program we’re doing,” Faulconer said.
“It really depends on budget of each of those programs, not necessarily the number of programs themselves,” Faulconer said.
The human trafficking survivor services that Mirror Ministries provide is one example. Another is the Prosser Teen Program Investment, which the Boys & Girls Club of Benton-Franklin Counties requested.
“Their core mission isn’t to prevent crime, it’s to support the youth of community,” Faulconer said. “They’re targeting a specific age range of kids that are more likely to be targeted to be involved in gang activity.”
The county’s aim is to get $500,000 a year for the next two years to help fund any newly proposed programs, Faulconer said. This doesn’t include programs that were already approved to extend through 2018.
If desired, three of the five must reapply or request an amendment to renew their contracts. The two approved to extend through 2018 are programs registered from the Benton-Franklin Health District and Safe Harbor/My Friends Place.