After a brief discussion, the Venice Neighborhood Council (VNC) voted unanimously to fund 19 community improvement projects last Tuesday, June 17.
The 40 contenders went through a competitive process that started in January and included an in-person presentation of their projects to the Council’s Neighborhood Committee, the VNC Board, and the Venice Community in April. The criteria used included completeness of the application, community support, benefit to the community, and involvement of VNC stakeholders in the implementation of the project. Additional criteria were geographical area, financial need of the applicants, type of project/constituency served, and whether the project was a “stand-alone” or for ongoing organizational support. Lastly, the project needed to be implemented between July 2008 and June 2009.
Based on these standards, the Neighborhood Committee then determined the recommended rankings and funding levels. They tried to maximize the use of the grants by funding as many projects as possible and also considered whether a project could be financed from other sources.
The Learning Garden received the highest amount, $4,972, for lighting their garden. The other top awardees each received $2,500. They were the Los Angeles Permaculture Guild for the beautification of the Dudley Triangle, the Venice Public Art Forum for the completion of the landscaping of the islands near the Venice Library, the Ocean Charter School for the beautification of their yard, and the First Lutheran Church of Venice for their “Masters in the Chapel” Concerts.
Other awardees approved on June 17 included the Venice Beach Music Festival, Venice Arts to make an Ocean Front Walk performers video, and Triple T Productions for the Custom Bicycle Expo.
The Council also approved a motion that would allow funds to be automatically awarded to the next-ranked unfunded project if funding becomes available because any of the awarded projects are not completed. This motion will apply to the 12 other projects that were ranked but that did not receive funding. The top ranked projects in this classification were a Lincoln Boulevard clean-up and support for the Abbot Kinney Festival.
Marc Salzberg, VNC’s Outreach Officer, told the Mirror that VNC had $40,000 available this year for the grants because they had money that rolled over from their City of Los Angeles community funding from last year. Each year their organization receives a total budget of $50,000 from the City, a portion of which goes to community improvement projects, and they are only allowed to carry over that funding for up to two years.VNC hopes to continue funding community improvement projects on an annual basis.