KILLEEN, Texas — The City of Killeen is using some city and federal funding to pour into local nonprofits. It's an initiative local nonprofits say is a long time coming.
For 10 years, Sandra Minor has kept the AYADD Outreach Center afloat, with money from her own pockets.
"We’re not huge, but we work hard because we want to make a difference," said Minor.
The AYADD Outreach Center focuses on free alcohol education and awareness programs, counseling offerings, and more. However, when the pandemic hit, her youth-centered preventative programming took a pause.
Minor said, "We found ourselves having to cancel because we didn’t have the money because most people who supported our organization were struggling to keep their doors open too."
Funding throughout the pandemic also proved to be an issue for larger nonprofits like the Fort Hood Area Habitat for Humanity.
Ken Cates, the CEO of Ft. Hood Area Habitat for Humanity said, “It really impacts us knowing that we can’t do what we know we need to do for Central Texas. We’ve seen a reduction and have had over 80% loss in our donations. The monetary funds that we use truly fund the building of these homes throughout Central Texas.”
With these struggles in mind, the City of Killeen stepped up to fill the void. Right now, there are two grant pools for nonprofits. One specifically for youth-centered nonprofits, which is funded through the reallocation of $300,000 from the city's Public Facility Corporation. In the first round of applicants, nine nonprofits applied. Each will be receiving $10,000 once approved on June 28 by the city council.
The second pool is for other nonprofit organizations that are not youth-focused. This grant is being funded by the federal government with $150,000 coming from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). In the first round, six nonprofits applied. Once approved by the city council, each will receive $10,000.
Mayor Pro Tem Ken Wilkerson said nonprofits are the backbone of the Killeen community with many residents relying on those organizations for a variety of needs.
"Anything that we can do to help is in our best interest because it just helps us as a whole," said Wilkerson.
Applications are closed but there is still money up for grabs.
Wilkerson said, "My hope is that the rest of the council, as well as myself, will be able to open that up in the near future to allow for a second round and maybe even the third round, if necessary, that goes for the ARPA nonprofit as well."
It's an initiative appreciated by local nonprofits.
Cates said, "We’re going to reach out to every grant we can. Once we see, the grant will make that determination, but it’ll help everybody. Especially again those smaller non-profits that have almost shut down, this might be an opportunity for them to step up [and] can continue on."
Minor was lucky enough to get in on the first round of grant applications. Though she hasn't received the funding yet, she is already planning to pour every cent back into the community.
"I said yay! I feel like I have a little break, I feel like a little release, I feel like I can do a little bit more than I have in the last year by having this grant," said Minor.