The community resource development program through the Nonprofit Resource Center provides free proposal writing, grant readiness assistance, fundraising assistance, and consultation on incorporation and program development to Muskogee nonprofits to support many programs that are vital to the community and its citizens. The nature of grant services is shifting from intensive proposal writing assistance to consultation on budgeting and proposal development.
Muskogee Police Department Community Resource Department
In August 2017, the Muskogee Police Department’s Community Resource Department needed assistance in applying for funding from the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality, (DEQ). The DEQ’s funding program is called the Community Based Environmental Protection Projects. These grant/contracts are for the prevention, control and abatement of pollution caused by solid waste which presents a threat to human health or the environment. The application had a January 2018 due date.
The MPD’s CR department has a program called the Elysium Project to, (clean up), rebuild and revitalize the community as part of the Southwest Initiative Plan. Community revitalization begins with rigorous cleanup of targeted areas such as the Reeves Addition chosen as a priority site. This area among others throughout the city has fallen into disarray. Issues are poor street lighting, trash dumping, derelict homes, overgrown vegetation, trees, shrubs, and weeds. All of these things attract crime and derelict persons, create health issues, lower property values, and depress the economy.
The MPD’s DEQ application was to fund code enforcement by paying a partial salary approximately 40% of a Community Resource Code Enforcement Officer. It was also to purchase clean up equipment and supplies. The items to be purchased included two chainsaws, two weed eaters, a blower, pole pruner, axe, loppers, handsaws, safety equipment, supplies, and a trailer with ramps for the mower. The Nonprofit Resource Center and Neighbors Building Neighborhoods helped the MPD’s CR Department to submit an application that was successfully funded at $50,000. While this is modest award, it has been a key catalyst in the MPD CR Department’s role in helping to significantly address the above listed issues and to help the community to thrive. Prior to the award, the MPD CR Department was having to scrape and scrounge for every small piece of equipment or funding it could use or borrow to implement the Elysium Project. This funding will have an immediate and significant positive impact on the community since the Reeve’s addition is so near and visible to a main artery of the economic corridor of the City.
In the past year, the Nonprofit Resource Center has worked with Fostering Hope in several areas including grant consultation. Annie Czaruk, executive director, says “Many people are not aware of all the services the Nonprofit Resource Center provides. There is so much that goes into running a nonprofit on the business side. Having a team of knowledgeable professionals to help with our book keeping and financial management lets me focus on providing great programming. When I first started seeking grants, creating the budgets for significant sums of money was a challenge. Being able to get help and advice from the NRC staff who work with grant budgets all the time and are confident in that was huge. Also, having someone to look out for grants that fit what we do and letting me know about them allows me to focus on providing services but not miss out on funding opportunities.”