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Anne Arundel dishes out $670,000 in local grants to help community groups

Local nonprofits strapped for cash due to the coronavirus pandemic are receiving assistance for capital projects and human service programs thanks to a previously dormant local program.

With nearly $670,000 total in grants, organizations will be able to provide individualized literacy training, help people transition from homelessness and provide legal aid to immigrants seeking to become citizens.

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The Community Grant Program was halted years ago under a former leader but was revived earlier this spring by Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman before the coronavirus touched down in the region. The virus changed the local economy, and impacted the budget, reducing the total grant fund amount, which was initially expected to be around $1.9 million.

The virus also prompted officials to slightly widen the scope of the grant. Instead of focusing primarily on capital projects, they also fed funds to organizations providing human service programs.

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Requests for grant money came from nearly 80 organizations and totaled roughly $4.5 million, said Kathy Koch, executive director of Arundel Community Development Systems. Ultimately 26 organizations were selected, and the county said the money was allocated in the way that will have the greatest impact on the community.

Applications were evaluated by Arundel Community Development, the Department of Health and Human Services, and Pittman’s office.

Pittman said the focus was on organizations doing health and human services work specifically for underserved communities. The grants are not for relief efforts directly tied to the coronavirus pandemic, Pittman said. Organizations can apply for grants from the CARES Act funds directly to the county, but it is separate from this program.

“It was important to my administration to create a new process to review the proposals, to ensure the county’s investments would be directed to organizations generating the most impact in the community,” said County Executive Pittman. “Now more than ever, the needs in our communities are increasing.”

Three organizations received $50,000 each, the highest amount given to any organization. The local bureau of Maryland Legal Aid, which will use the funds for general operating costs; Arundel House of Hope, which will use the funds towards two positions that help residents secure and adjust to permanent housing; and The Light House homeless shelter, which will use the funds for general operating costs.

The Annapolis Immigration Network will use the $40,000 grant to help immigrants on their pathway to citizenship, and the Organization of Hispanic/Latin Americans of Anne Arundel County (OHLA) will us the $11,000 grant to support Spanish speaking residents overcome language barriers and related issues.

The Wiley H. Bates Legacy Center in Annapolis received a grant of $40,000 to continue operations, and the Wiley H. Bates location of the Boys and Girls Club received a grant of $21,600 to provide after-school programming to underserved students.

See all the awardees below.

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