Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Coronado’s Community Grant Program More Generous Than That of Other Jurisdictions

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This article is a follow-up to the article, “City Council Poised to Approve Over $1 Million in Community Grants,” which was published on May 9. It is intended to provide Coronado residents with a comparison of Coronado’s community grants to those of other local jurisdictions as well as provide a digest of the applications for community grants before the City Council acts on these requests at its meeting on May 19. The public is invited to attend the 4pm meeting this Tuesday.

For FY2015-16, the city received a total of 16 grant applications, valued at $1,358,209, which, along with their attachments exceed 175 pages in length. The FY2015-16 requests represent an increase of over $70,000, or more than a five percent increase over the previous year’s grants.

As stated in the referenced article, the $1,288,000 in FY2014-15 grant requests constitute over five percent of the Coronado’s general fund expenditures of $42,753,000. Discussions with other local communities suggest that Coronado is unique in the magnitude of its community grant program.

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Two comparable cities to Coronado are Encinitas and Carlsbad. Encinitas has a population of approximately 66,000 and a median family income of $88,000 which is close to Coronado’s of over $90,000. Its FY2014-15 budget was $73.2 million for operations and $23.5 million for its capital improvement program with expected revenue of $96 million.

In FY2015-16, Encinitas will make a total of $150,000 in grants to not-for-profit and tax exempt organizations “to accomplish projects or programs in Encinitas that provide wide community benefit.” The maximum single grant will be limited to $5,000. The program is funded by a General Fund allocation of $75,000 from the city and a dollar-for-dollar matching grant of $75,000 from a family foundation.

Carlsbad, by comparison, has an estimated population of 108,246 (as of January 1, 2013) and a 2012 median household income of $95,327. Its FY2014-15 operating budget is $227.4 million and includes a Community Activities Grant Program that is divided into four parts. One part provides grants to neighborhood groups. Recipients are selected by a citizens’ group with representation from the seven areas of the city. The amount available for grants is the interest on a $1 million endowment, which this year is $10,000. The second part of the program consists of grants of $5,000 to $10,000 to cover no more than 20 percent of the travel costs of a Carlsbad sports or other team to travel to a national competition. The third category consists of small grants to cover no more than 20 percent of the costs of a special event such as a marathon or bicycle race. The grants are intended to provide “start-up” funding. Recipients can only receive monetary grants for three years and in-kind support for five years. The final category is known as “spirit” grants and only provides “in-kind” support, such as the police shutting down a road for a parade. Absent the grant, the recipient would be charged for the police time to close the road.

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Del Mar, while significantly smaller than Coronado with a population of approximately 4,200 but relatively robust general government operating expenses of $12.4 million, will make a total of $76,000 in grants in the upcoming budget year.

As previously reported, Imperial Beach has a population slightly larger than Coronado’s, 28,243, and a significantly smaller FY2014-15 general fund expenditure of $17,939,290. The only community grants it provides are not funded by the city but rather by the refuse collection firm EDCO. Every other year EDCO provides Imperial Beach with $10,000, which it uses to make grants.

Following is a list of the grant applicants, which includes the requested amount, the applicant’s budget per the application, and what percentage the requested amount constitutes of the applicant’s budget. After the table are the summaries of the grant applications.


Request ($)

Total Budget ($)

Request % of Total Budget

Coronado Historical Association




Coronado Healthy Children’s Initiative




Coronado SAFE (Student and Family Enrichment)




Coronado Chamber of Commerce




Coronado Main Street




Lamb’s Players Theater




Coronado Island Film Festival




Coronado Floral Association




Coronado Senior Association




Coronado Community Theater




Coronado 4th of July, Inc.




Camp Able at Coronado




Coronado Community Band




US Navy League Sea Cadet Program




Coronado Memorial Day Committee




Miss Coronado Pageant




With respect to Coronado’s community grants, the following digest summarizes the applications. For each application the amount requested is indicated along with the applicant’s FY 2014-2015 operating budget, unless otherwise noted, and the amount of the grant the applicant received last year. In addition each applicant’s responses to the following questions included in the application form are summarized or quoted. The underlined statement is the question as it appears in the digest. The full question that appears on the form follows.

Measurements to Evaluate Performance: In order to assist the City Council, please provide measurements to evaluate performance. Measurements should include input and output measurements, numbers served, and overall results.

Planned Use of Requested Funds: Please describe, in detail, how the requested funds would be used to serve the community of Coronado.

How FY2014-15 Grant Funds Were Used and Benefits to the Community: In order for City Council make the most informed decision, please provide a detailed explanation of how your FY2014-15 grant funding was used, including an accounting of expenditures. Also, please explain what overall benefits to the local community were accomplished by this grant. You may include the information on the lines below or you may attach additional information.

Coronado Historical Association

Amount Requested: $381,350

Total Budget: $919,335

Amount Received Last Year: $381,350

Measurements to Evaluate Performance: The Coronado Historical Association operates the Visitor Center. In FY2014-15 the Visitor Center will provide tourist/visitor information to an estimated 126,000 visitors; conduct almost 3,000 official guided and self-guided tours of Coronado; develop museum exhibits and educational programs for children, residents, and visitors; update the Coronado Visitor Guide; and implement a new social media program. Its website will have 244,000 users in the current fiscal year. The volunteers who operate the Visitors Center will provide over 4,000 hours of support through the end of the fiscal year.

Planned Use of Requested Funds: The requested funds would be used to continue the operations of the Visitors Center. It would continue to provide general tourist/visitor information on Coronado, offer tours, provide information on events and activities, develop museum exhibits, update visitor information, offer workshops, provide volunteers, and reply to all inquiries from residents and visitors.

How FY2014-2015 Grant Funds Were Used and Benefits to the Community: No accounting of the expenditure of the FY2014-15 grant funds was provided in the application. Benefits to the local community will include the assistance to visitors provided by 50 volunteers; discounted event tickets provided to visitors and residents to visit local attractions; promotion of local businesses; implementation of an improved Visitor Center website; publication of a 100-page Coronado Visitor Guide; three exhibits in the Coronado Museum; 23 lectures, workshops, and informational events concerning Coronado history and culture; and a Summer History Camp for 3rd to 6th graders. The Visitor Center also represents the interests of Coronado visitors at various city committee and commission meetings.

Coronado Healthy Children’s Initiative Joint Powers Agreement (JPA)

Coronado Unified School District

Amount Requested: $330,590

Total Budget: $330,590 (The application included a budget of $31,213,360, which appears to be the total budget of the schools district.)

Amount Received Last Year: $330,590

The proposal submitted by the School District did not respond to the specific questions contained in the application and no accounting of how previous grant funds were spent was provided. Instead a funding proposal was attached to the application and referenced in the application.

The proposal identified two proposed uses of the grant funds:

• After hours homework tutorial programs for the middle and high schools

• A district-wide clinical counseling program.

The after-hours homework tutorial program would be available to all students and help “students make wise choices after school with both their behavior and academic studies.” It will also make the students potentially better workers and enhance “economic development in Coronado through quality preparation of students for the world of work.”

The clinical counseling program consists of clinical counselors working on campus “to foster safe and supportive relationships to mitigate risk factors and trauma that negatively impact academic success.” Activities include school-based individual and group counseling, community outreach, as well as general consultation and support for students, families, and teachers “geared at fostering students’ heath, wellness and academic success.”

Since its beginning in October 2014 the program has involved a total of 499 student, parent, and community contacts. Seventy-three classroom and staff presentations have been made on character building, bullying, transition for grade levels and schools, and healthy coping behaviors. Currently 57 students and their families are receiving counseling on a weekly basis and a total of 133 students have sought counseling as “walk-ins.” Twenty-nine students have been the subjects of interventions by counselors regarding mood symptoms such as anxiety and depression and related behaviors. Twenty-nine parents have received counseling regarding students’ academic, social, or emotional well-being. Finally, the counselors have provided group counseling to 128 students.

Measurements to Evaluate Performance: No specific response.

Planned Use of Requested Funds: No specific response.

How FY2014-2015 Grant Funds Were Used and Benefits to the Community: No specific response.

Coronado SAFE (Student and Family Enrichment)

Amount Requested: $130,000

Total Budget: $230,000

Amount Received Last Year: $130,000

Measurements to Evaluate Performance: In FY2014-15 SAFE will provide services to 4,249 individuals, students, parents, grandparents and others, during six on-campus and three off-campus Student Enrichment Programs for 2,552 students; six Parent Education Programs for 454 recipients; four Family Support Services for 133 youths and families; and countless community enrichment, education, and outreach efforts for 1,110 citizens.

Planned Use of Requested Funds: SAFE would use the requested funds to host more Student Enrichment Programs to help children make positive, educated, and responsible choices (3,000 participants); conduct six Parent Education Programs to improve family communications and improve parenting (2,500 participants); provide four types of no-cost counseling and family consultation Support Service Programs to improve families’ lives (200 participants); and conduct Community Enrichment Programs including online tools to engage families new to Coronado, and involve community members in monthly meetings and frequent conversations to improve inter-community relations and decrease overlaps in services (3,000 participants).

How FY2014-2015 Grant Funds Were Used and Benefits to the Community: No explicit account of the use of the FY2014-15 grant funds was provided in the grant application. Summary and detailed breakdowns of the cost of the programs were provided but they did not separate the grant funds from SAFE’s other revenue.

In FY2014-15 benefits to the community will include presenting SAFE’s early life-skills program at eight local schools, offering to Christ Church Day School SAFE’s 4th/5th grade coping-skills Club SAFE, performing community service by Team Safe middle school and Project SAFE high school students, cohosting student planter beautification projects, developing take-home notes for parents for each of its on-campus programs, hosting Toastmasters for middle school students, and providing to 265 Coronado sixth graders a drug use prevention event. Parent Education Programs include classes, workshops, and seminars for Coronado parents and grandparents. A new online resource center was established for parents. Youth and Family Support Services and Community Enrichment and Engagement activities will also benefit the community.

Coronado Chamber of Commerce

Amount Requested: $110,000

Total Budget: $350,000

Amount Received Last Year: $112,200

Measurements to Evaluate Performance: The Chamber of Commerce is vital to the City of Coronado. It promotes economic vitality, is a leading public policy advocate for business in Coronado, provides valuable services to its members, and is a partner in initiatives that protect and improve the quality of life in Coronado. The city benefits through the local taxes paid by both member and non-member businesses and through the financial viability of these businesses and the jobs, incomes, investments and contributions they provide. In the first three quarters of the current fiscal year, the chamber has provided 12,780 staff hours responding to requests for information on businesses, restaurants, lodging, churches, schools and other topics; providing information packets and guides; coordinating with other agencies; and managing community events.

Planned Use of Requested Funds: The requested funds would be used to respond to requests for information on topics of interest to the city; operate a website; and maintain office hours to respond to walk-ins and phone requests for information, develop informational packets, coordinate with other agencies, handle referrals, receive customer feedback, and manage community events.

How FY2014-2015 Grant Funds Were Used and Benefits to the Community: FY2014-15 grant funds were used to fund the Holiday Open House ($28,000), acquire supplies and equipment required to provide the services specific in the grant ($24,500), and for hourly compensation to provide grant services ($59,700). These expenditures benefit the local community through the goods and services provided by local businesses. The businesses benefit from the sales generated by local community members and tourists, and the city benefits from increased tax revenue.

Coronado Main Street

Amount Requested: $103,765

Total Budget: $180,630

Amount Received Last Year: -----
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John Tato
John was born and raised in Coronado. He graduated from Coronado High School in 1965. He received a Bachelor of Arts with a major in architecture and a Master of Architecture degree from Stanford University. In 2005 he retired from the U.S. Department of State but continues to serve as a consultant to the department.He is a member of the Coronado Transportation Commission. John also volunteers with the San Diego Human Society and County Animal Shelters. He and his wife, Barbara, who is retired from the Central Intelligence Agency, have two sons: Army Captain John W. Tato who is serving with the First Special Forces Group (Airborne) and Navy Ensign Michael R. Tato who is in flight training with VP-30 at NAS Jacksonville.Have news to share? Send tips, story ideas or letters to the editor to: manager@ecoronado.com


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