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Fallbrook nonprofits vie for $500,000 from health district

Rick Monroe

Special to the Village News

The Fallbrook Food Pantry received the largest grants – $140,000 for two programs – at a special meeting on April 25 by trustees of the Fallbrook Regional Health District to determine which area nonprofit organizations it would provide funding for the next fiscal year – and how much.

It’s a process that occurs every year, with checks going to the essential community service agencies beginning in July. The awards were a difficult task this year because there were 23 grant requests for the district to consider, totaling $1,079,269.43, and the district’s budget allocation was $500,000.

That half-million dollar amount was considerably less that the $789,000 awarded for 2021-2022.

Rachel Mason, district CEO, explained that this year the district's Health & Wellness Center needed more funds as services offered there have increased.

After hearing from the public and considering the merits of the organizations, the directors voted unanimously to approve funding for 15 of the 23 applicants for $541,106.35. The additional $41,000 above the $500,000 budget is something Mason said the district can handle.

Trustees decided to fund nine programs for the full amount they requested, listed in order of their ranking by the board:

• $90,000 to Fallbrook Food Pantry’s program for alleviating hunger in greater Fallbrook.

• $45,000 to Palomar Family Counseling Services for its Healthy Body, Healthy Minds program.

• $17,844 to Hospice of the Valleys for local community support.

• $47,148 to D’Vine Path for its Life I Can Healthy Lifestyle program.

• $15,000 to Palomar Family Counseling for Grandparents Raising Grandchildren.

• $15,000 to Boys & Girls Club for its summer water safety program.

• $40,624 to Boys & Girls Club its Triple Play program.

• $50,000 to Fallbrook Food Pantry for nutrition and occupational education.

• $46,406 to Michelle’s Place for cancer support services.

The remaining six grants were for senior programs that the board decided were worthy, but noted the total requested by the 15 agencies was $717,254, greatly exceeding the $500,000. Board member Stephanie Ortiz pointed out that the total amount of the senior funding requests was higher than the 32% population of seniors in the district. After discussion, the board decided unanimously to reduce the amount of each grant request of the six program.

The Foundation for Senior Care received four grants: $29,818 for its adult day care; $38,605 for senior care advocacy; $44,203 for senior transportation services, and $9,349 for its Door Through Door program. It also shared a grant approval of $10,400 with the Fallbrook Food Pantry for a seniors and disabled adults nutrition program.

The final senior program grant was for $40,679 for the Fallbrook Senior Center’s congregate meal program.

Mason said the reductions in the senior requests varied from 32% to 52%.

At the beginning of the morning meeting, Jennifer Jeffries, board treasurer, explained the process for determining the agencies to be funded. She said the four board members individually reviewed the submissions – hundreds of pages – and submitted their score for each applicant. Those scores created the initial ranking of applications.

Based on the ranking, Mason established three tiers, with the lower tier likely not to receive funding. Board chair Howard Salmon then asked if board members wanted to consider moving any of Tier 3 applicants to Tier 2. He then moved to review and make changes to Tier 2. The final process was to consider moving any applicant from Tier 2 to Tier 1 – or moving any down. There were minimal adjustments since the initial scores were decided by the trustees.

“It was as fair and transparent as possible,” Mason noted after the meeting.

The applicants that did not receive funds were Champions for Health for Project Access San Diego, CHSI-Fallbrook Family Health Care for a women’s health and wellness program, Fallbrook Land Conservancy for both Preserve and Trail Walkability Enhancement and Save Our Forest environmental education, Fallbrook Senior Center for home delivered meal program, Neighborhood Healthcare for remote care initiative, and REINS for both equine assisted learning and therapeutic horsemanship

The board is functioning one member short. Kate Schwartz-Frates, Zone 3 board member since 2018, is moving out of the area and resigned last month. The district is accepting applicants to complete the term.


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