Nonprofits Go For LBC Free Grants
By Dianne Anderson
Community advocate Keith Lilly is not wasting any time lately getting his applications submitted to tap some free grants under American Rescue Plan dollars that continue to flow down to Long Beach nonprofits.
But this round of free money has a short shelf life.
Deadline to apply is April 15.
He said every $5,000 to $25,000 can go a long way toward helping the people he serves. He plans on going after all the support he can get for his nonprofit Developing Future Leaders.
Coming up off the pandemic, the community has been devastated.
He wants to get excited about the possibilities, but he has applied for grants in the past, submitting all required paperwork to the city, which never seemed to pan out.
Lilly, an award winning activist, is also a long-time local businessman. He has coached at Long Beach Poly High School, and is a current co-coordinator with the city’s Midnight Basketball program. Lilly is also a former branch director for Long Beach Boys and Girls Club at King Park, working with city programs and kids for decades – 45 years to be exact.
He hosts his Juneteenth event yearly, which brings out the crowd in the community for information, services and entertainment.
But even with the clear need in the community he serves, he said Black nonprofits always have to jump through more hoops than other groups to get grant dollars. For years, he’s been coming out of pocket to sustain his program.
His nonprofit reaches up to 400 men and women with regular food distributions, health information resources, and caters to seniors.
Recently, he commended another dedicated local advocate, Rev. Gerald Johnson of Greater Harvest Church for their programs. Several agencies turned out earlier this month, drawing strong participation from the local formerly incarcerated to register to vote.
He said similar events are also in the planning stages.
“It’s time. Everybody is saying the same thing, it’s time to build our communities back up,” said Lilly.
Lilly grew up in Long Beach, and he knows practically everyone, and everyone knows him. He said efforts are underway to work with gangs from North Long Beach to the westside.
“We’re gonna squash the beef. Some of it is building Black wealth but it’s also dealing with other cultures, the Latino and Asian community. We want to build camaraderie, that we can walk through the community in safety, walk as a family,” he said.
According to the city’s website, Long Beach nonprofits that have been negatively impacted with financial hardship through COVID-19 can access the grants with direct financial relief via the Nonprofit Relief Program through the Long Beach Recovery Act.
Michelle Byerly, executive director for The Nonprofit Partnership, welcomes all nonprofits to join up as members, and learn to access Long Beach city grants, but also several money streams coming down from Los Angeles County.
She is familiar with the current relief grant up offered at the city of Long Beach, which should be easy to apply, but nonprofits can call her organization. She said they don’t have access to city systems, but said they can help with application inputs.
The Nonprofit Partnership is also not limited to Long Beach, but her organization receives grants from the city, and Los Angeles County to redistribute to other nonprofits in the community.
Membership is $125 annually, based on revenue for nonprofits earning under $100,000. She said they can access affinity groups, nonprofits meet, work with volunteers, network with fundraisers. They can access a directory of foundations, board groups, share resources, and challenges with peers.
“We are going to have more opportunities for smaller and emerging organizations, the ones that need that support. There’s should be more money coming from the city to help those nonprofits that are coming out,” she said.
As with the last round of CARES Act funding, the city contracts with organizations like The Nonprofit Partnership to roll out and disseminate certain buckets of funds.
During the pandemic, her organization got funding out to early childcare providers. They had organizations distributing rent relief grants or taking applications, and undocumented funds.
She also works with organizations that do not yet have nonprofit status, but sponsored by an established nonprofit.
“We work a lot of those organizations. The city is willing to fund those organizations,” she said.
The community should also keep an eye on registering Planet Bids, which have an open vendor portal and open projects. She said they’re sharing the Long Beach Recovery Act projects as they become available.
For some nonprofits, $25,000 seems like a small fortune, and she said nonprofits can also go after several grants, not just one.
“If someone does have questions and they’re not getting what they need from the city, they can call us and we’ll be happy to answer some questions,” she said.
For more information, see www.Developingfutureleaders.org
To see the latest funding for LB nonprofits, https://bit.ly/3iGSfxC
Planet Bids City of Long Beach https://pbsystem.planetbids.com/portal/15810/portal-home