North Westwood organizations have less than two weeks left to potentially receive a neighborhood purpose grant from the current council.
Neighborhood purpose grants, which are grants given by neighborhood councils to benefit community organizations, can be issued in amounts up to $5,000 to eligible organizations, such as approved nonprofit organizations and public schools that lie within the boundaries of their respective councils. The North Westwood Neighborhood Council, which oversees UCLA, North Westwood and the Village, must approve its first neighborhood purpose grants by May 16, when its new council members will be elected.
Michael Skiles, president of the NWWNC, said the council will award neighborhood purpose grants and approve other expenses at a special meeting Wednesday.
Skiles said the council is able to award about $20,000 in neighborhood purpose grants, roughly half of the budget given by the city. So far, its funds from the city have gone toward initial expenses such as launching a website, advertising elections and funding community events, Skiles said in an email statement.
The Westwood Neighborhood Council, which represents Westwood stakeholders adjacent to the Village, spends the majority of its budget on neighborhood purpose grants, said Lisa Chapman, the council’s president. The council spends about $37,000 to $39,000 in grants every year, the most of any neighborhood council in Los Angeles, Chapman said.
Chapman added that, before the two councils subdivided in November, the WWNC made donations to UCLA’s Community Programs Office Food Closet but no longer can because UCLA does not fall within the jurisdiction of the council.
The WWNC’s grants have gone toward Westwood schools, services for the homeless, little leagues and libraries in the past and are generally distributed evenly, said WWNC Vice President Sandy Brown. For example, the West LA Little League often applies for a neighborhood purpose grant from the WWNC, Chapman said.
Organizations applying for neighborhood purpose grants must prove they are tax-exempt organizations, fill out paperwork and explain how their project benefits the public, according to the application form.
Skiles said he thinks neighborhood councils are better able to represent what’s best for the needs of the communities than the Los Angeles City Council.
“Neighborhood councils are the most local parts of the city government that are the most connected to the communities,” he said. “The city of Los Angeles feels that neighborhood councils have unique insights in how small amounts of money could be spent to do things that would really help or improve these communities.”