Nederland planning $250K grants program to benefit nonprofits impacted by COVID

Published 12:30 am Thursday, December 23, 2021

NEDERLAND — The City of Nederland is working on the framework of a $250,000 pandemic recovery program that would allow local nonprofits to apply for and receive up to $10,000 each.

The funds are designed to recoup lost revenue impacted directly by COVID-19 or reimburse organizations that have increased spending efforts due to pandemic response.

Much still has to be fine-tuned with the effort, including defining “local,” but a final draft could be ready for the Nederland City Council to vote on in January.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

The money is being allocated from $4.3 million received by the city in Coronavirus Local Fiscal Recovery.

City Manager Chris Duque said Nederland is modeling its program after a similar effort in Fort Bend County.

No official action on the suggestion was made after Duque updated the city council on the effort this week.

Duque said the effort opens the door for the city to assist food pantries and groups helping with clothing due to the loss of employment through the pandemic.

“There were a lot of organizations who lost fundraisers in 2020 because they were shut down,” he said. “In 2021, a lot of local nonprofits who count on the Heritage Festival as their biggest money maker did not have that event.”

For any nonprofit to be considered, they must have tax-exempt status.

Once up and running, the city would likely ask those nonprofits to share their intent to seek funding before filing proper paperwork.

“We have a lot of details to work out on the back end, but we feel that would be a good first step,” Duque said. “With the $250,000 overall and $10,000 cap per organization, that opens the door for us to help 25 nonprofit organizations. If there were more applications than we thought, (the council) could make a decision to make an amendment to put more into this versus that. You could raise the cap.”

The allocations would go out in the form of grants.

“We will have to document everything, like their tax exempt status, their location, the services they provide,” Duque said. “We are probably going to need some of their tax documents to confirm the revenue they made.”

Defining which organizations are eligible must also be spelled out specifically.

“Are we going to allow an organization from Port Arthur or Port Neches that, yes, comes to the festival as part of their main fundraising?” Duque asked. “Are we going to assist them? That is going to be a lot of discussion. As they apply, we are going to look at that. I just used the word ‘local,’ but I have not defined what ‘local’ means. 77627 does not define the city; the school district boundaries don’t either.”