Tuesday, April 29, 2014

POLA to Award $1 Million in Community Grants

By Mark Edward Nero

The Port of Los Angeles says it will soon make available $1 million in community grants to support initiatives, programs and events benefiting Los Angeles Harbor communities and the LA Waterfront, under its second ever Community Investment Grant Program endowments.

The grants, which are being issued in fiscal year 2014-15, combine port community grant making into one program. Grant awards will focus on initiatives that benefit the local community and help promote the port’s goals related to international trade, the environment and sustainability, and public safety and security.

The port also says it will look for programs that promote the LA Waterfront and surrounding coastal areas as visitor destinations, as well as ideas that highlight the area’s rich maritime history and traditions.

The new grant system follows a 2013 pilot program, which awarded a smaller portion of grants through a “test” competitive process.

“By using a competitive process, we can assure a more open and transparent award process, while also spurring creativity and supporting the best programs possible,” Cynthia Ruiz, the port’s Deputy Director for External Relations, explained.

Funding for the 2014-15 fiscal year will be made available in three categories: small grants under $5,000, up to a total of $75,000; medium grants between $5,000 and $99,000, up to $125,000 total; and large grants over $100,000, up to $800,000 total.

To help local organizations prepare grant applications, the port plans to host two Community Investment Grant Program workshops.

The first is scheduled for 6 pm Tues., May 6 at the Harbor Department Administration Building Boardroom, 425 S. Palos Verdes Street in San Pedro. The second workshop is planned for 6 pm Wed., May 7 at Banning’s Landing Community Center, 100 E. Water St. in Wilmington.

Grant applications are due by 5 pm Mon., June 2.

Organizations must be nonprofit with 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status to apply for grants, and funds must be spent between July 1, 2014 and June 30, 2015, unless an extension is granted. A grant committee comprised of port, City of Los Angeles and community representatives will review and approve all grant applications.

Potential applicants who need additional information or have questions may call the port’s public relations department at (310) 732-3508.