I.E. Grant Opportunities Seem to Be Opening Up
By Dianne Anderson
The homeless aren’t what they used to be when Pastor Paul Jones first started his extended food and resources outreach several years ago.
Today, he sees a lot more regular working people, average families living in their cars – if they have one. With rents and inflation soaring, he said it’s no longer a question of who are the homeless.
“Let’s try who’s not? We have people living in their cars and pregnant, people who have a job, but the money is not enough,” said Jones, who heads up Benjamin E. Jones Community Resource Center.
Held every fourth Friday of the month, Jones is looking forward to their next outreach with Mayor Helen Tran, who he said has committed to assist with services. He usually has 25 to 30 volunteers, but could use more help.
Jones tries to connect the community with available housing, and works with several programs, including the Salvation Army. For the most part, he said people want housing, and do not want to be outside in the elements.
At the city and county levels, he hosts community resource events at Perris Hill Park and Seccombe Lake, and serves four senior complexes as well as providing food at different foster agencies, but he said most of the battle is trying to find out where to get grant information.
A few good partners are supportive. Arrowhead United Way, the Salvation Army and County Public Health help him keep services in front of the people. He said a mobile dental unit is available at his events. Chase Bank has helped, along with Target. Kaiser invited him to apply for a grant.
“Thank God for them, they come out and help out, but where is the other part? I’m fighting to get grants from San Bernardino,” he said. “When they have a grant, you don’t find out about it until it’s getting ready to close so you don’t have time to submit.”
San Bernardino County Spokesperson David Wert said a training program for nonprofits and minority owned businesses is being developed to help them effectively bid on RFP projects. Interested nonprofits can register as vendors on the county’s purchasing website for RFPs as they become available.
“We want to make sure that nonprofits and small businesses are able to write effective proposals to qualify for funding, and we are working on establishing workshops for nonprofits and minority-owned businesses,” he said.
Wert said that counties handle American Rescue Plan funding differently. San Bernardino County has focused on funding by partnering with cities, school districts, county departments and infrastructure, along with business assistance for areas hardest hit by the pandemic.
ARPA-related funded projects for cities included San Bernardino, Ontario, Fontana, Colton. School districts include Rialto Unified, and Colton. Not much focus is on nonprofits funded through ARPA, but he said projects and assistance for nonprofits will be handled through the county’s normal procurement channels.
Opportunities for nonprofits have not been announced yet, he said.
In San Bernardino County, only four nonprofits received ARPA-funded contracts in 2022, including ieRebound at $150,000 for re-entry services for formerly incarcerated individuals. Morongo Basin Ambulance received $35,000 for Critical Care Transport training for MBA paramedics and the purchase of a ventilator. Mary’s Mercy Center received $225,000 to pay for the purchase of appliances and furnishings for homeless and unhoused residents at the facility. SWAG, the Social Work Action Group, received $112,945.
In Riverside County, last Fiscal Year, ARPA funded 78 nonprofits, according to their website.
The county created a nonprofit roundtable to provide recommendations on the best way to fund local nonprofits. In May, the Board of Supervisors approved contracts with three subrecipients to issue $14.5 million in grants to local nonprofits through the roundtable’s newly created Nonprofit Assistance Fund.
For interested Riverside county-based nonprofits, easy applications along with RFPs are open to submit on their website. Although ARPA funds must be spent or obligated by December 2024, the county is calling for applications to jumpstart funds yearly by December 2023 to ensure that the 2024 deadline for expenses is met in time.
Local nonprofits can now apply for funding with sub-recipients within approved funding categories to Inland Southern California United Way, which received $6.3 million available to local nonprofits for direct funding support. Also, the Inland Empire Community Foundation received $6.8 million available to local nonprofits for programmatic funding support, and the Regional Access Project received $1.3 million for local nonprofits for technical assistance.
On July 27 at 10:00 a.m., Riverside County nonprofits can attend an applicant’s conference to learn more about the application process. Register at https://rivcohws.org/riverside-county-nonprofit .
At this time, the Economic Policy Institute reports that state and local governments have spent less than half of their ARPA fiscal recovery funds. The nonprofit think tank is focused on equity and inclusion, recently found that counties have far more unspent American Rescue Plan Act fiscal relief funds than cities and states, and that those dollars should be used for equity enhancements.
EPI reports that most of the $350 billion in State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF) allocated under the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) remains unspent, but that counties have many opportunities to use the remaining funds to help working families and advance equity.
As of the last reporting deadline on December 31, larger counties have spent less than 27% of that money and obligated just 41% of it.
“Following a decade of austerity budgets, it’s understandable that counties might look to SLFRF as a de facto rainy-day fund, but these funds should be used to address the very real needs of working families,” the report said.
For more information on:
How to apply for ARPA nonprofit funding in Riverside County, see
Aside from ARPA, Riverside nonprofits are also invited to apply for Riverside County Nonprofit Assistance Fund, which opened July 10, and closes August 10 at 6:00 p.m.
For San Bernardino County businesses to compete for funding, see Purchasing website, https://wp.sbcounty.gov/purchasing
For nonprofits and vendors to become eligible to bid on projects for business with San Bernardino County, see https://wp.sbcounty.gov/purchasing/vendor-registration/
To see how LA County is spending their ARPA nonprofit dollars
To track how counties are doing with their ARPA spending, see