Westwood leaders are finding it difficult to donate to a UCLA student organization due to grant fees and a slow administrative process, some council members said.
The Westwood Neighborhood Council wants to donate a $5,000 grant to the Community Programs Office Food Closet, but the grant application includes a stipulation that requires 35 percent of the donation to go to UCLA administrative costs and employment benefits. Council members said they do not want $1,750 of their grant funds to go to the university.
The CPO Food Closet is a student-run food pantry that offers healthy food options for UCLA students, specifically targeting low-income and nontraditional students who may be food insecure, according to the grant application.
The council decided not to process the grant through UCLA and instead plans to make a motion on whether to donate to the food closet through the UCLA Foundation. The UCLA Foundation requires that donors pay a 6.5 percent fee of their total donation, said Antonio Sandoval, director of the Community Programs Office.
Though CPO found an alternative method for the council to donate the funds, council President Lisa Chapman said she is upset with the administrative obstacles to donating to university organizations and worries the CPO Food Closet is moving too slowly as it resubmits its application through the UCLA Foundation.
If the paperwork isn’t submitted to the city of Los Angeles by June 30, the council’s grant funds will be returned to the city, said council Treasurer Laura Winikow.
CPO interns requested the grant at the March council meeting because they wanted to expand the service with instant meal options for busy students, according to the grant application.
The council tabled the decision to approve the grant because of the large fee and asked CPO to respond to a letter requesting a waiver of the administration fee by April 21. Chapman said the food closet did not officially respond by the deadline, but decided to work with the UCLA Foundation to decrease the grant fee.
“It’s just frustrating because I don’t feel that urgency from (the food closet),” she said. “We want to give them this money … But they are stalling so much that I worry it’s going to be an uphill battle.”
Winikow said the council would rather use these funds for Westwood organizations if CPO cannot reapply for the grant by the June 30 deadline.
Winikow said the council’s grants are usually awarded to smaller groups around Westwood that do not have such high administrative fees. The council usually has enough leftover funds to finance a large number of grants for Westwood groups at the end of the fiscal year, Winikow added.
CPO interns will return to the council’s next meeting to present their pitch for grant funds May 10, Sandoval said.
The council will make a motion on the donation pitch that day, Chapman said. She said if the food closet cannot finalize paperwork with a reduced or waived administration fee, the council will have to donate the money elsewhere.
“That is the last chance,” Chapman said. “If not, we have to give away this money to the community in another way. We do not want it being swept and wasted by the city.”