I am writing in response to Aiyana Moya’s coverage of the CORE Funding situation (GT, 6/15). The nonprofit I run, Eat for the Earth, was recommended for funding. Many other organizations providing critical services were also recommended. Grey Bears, Food What?!, Jacob’s Heart, Community Action Board, the Boys and Girls Club and Dientes are just a few of the agencies that may be familiar to your readers. Community Bridges, the main organization profiled, was actually recommended for $436,221.72 for their Meals on Wheels program, though CEO Ray Cancino apparently did not reference that. By leaving the voices of funded programs entirely out of the article, Moya failed to give the full picture of the CORE Investments situation and may have inadvertently added to the “Hunger Games” mentality initiated by Ryan Coonerty and reinforced by Cancino.
Although Eat for the Earth is celebrating the opportunity to have adequate resources to support community members with diabetes, heart disease and other diet-related conditions to reclaim their health, our sense of elation was deflated upon hearing about all the losses. Clearly there is a need to reconsider a process that ends up not recommending funding for any of the five family resource centers and only recommending funding for one of nine currently funded childcare centers. Similarly, there is a huge opportunity cost when the process fails to consider the value of leveraging state and federal dollars with a smaller local match. But sensationalized coverage of what was lost with no reference to what was gained or deep analysis into the process that favored some projects over others does a disservice to the community. There are many aspects of the story that have a bearing on what happened. For example, it seems significant that one organization that was not previously funded (United Way) was recommended for the biggest single award, about $760,000, which is over 13% of the total pool.
I am concerned that your coverage, along with the testimony of many clients of programs not recommended for continued funding, may contribute to a “resolution” that undoes the entire month’s long CORE RFP process. If that happens, you will have made it easier for the County and City of Santa Cruz to take money away from recommended programs rather than inspiring the staff and elected officials to find ways to honor the process, fund the programs that rose to the top in that process as recommended and also find a way to insure that critical services for people in need are sustained.
Rev. Beth Love
Executive Director, Eat for the Earth
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