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Published October 21, 2013, 08:43 PM

Grand Forks sets stricter rules on who is eligible for aid to nonprofits

Several nonprofits in Grand Forks will have to secure money for arts activities from sources other than a city-funded program after a Monday night City Council decision.

By: Brandi Jewett, Grand Forks Herald

Several nonprofits in Grand Forks will have to secure money for arts activities from sources other than a city-funded program after a Monday night City Council decision.

The council directed the North Valley Arts Council to follow eligibility requirements more strictly than in past years when it comes to giving away city money through its Arts Re-Grant Program.

“For the past one or two years, NoVAC has been using a loose interpretation,” council member Dana Sande said. “We’re asking the requirements be applied a little more strictly.”

The program is intended to provide an opportunity for nonprofits with an arts-based mission to apply for grant money. The money comes from sales tax raised by the city and is distributed through a committee selected by NoVAC.

In the past few years, some non-art organizations such a nursing home and mental health center sought and received funding from the program for activities such as art therapy or theater productions.

A more stringent interpretation of the program’s eligibility requirements would leave out past grant recipients.

There are still options for those now left out of the program, according to NoVAC’s Executive Director Marie Strinden.

One of those is the art council’s Healthy Living Through Art program. It would serve a purpose similar to art therapy programs, but does cost money for an organization to host.

Strinden said another option would be to find other funding sources outside of her organization.

Other news

• The council passed a law banning discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in rental housing within the city. The law was approved 5-2 at its first reading two weeks ago. It passed by the same margin this week.

• The rezoning of a tract of land also was approved by the council. The land was changed from business use to residential use. Local developers have plans to build apartments on the land, located at 2750 and 2900 DeMers Ave.

• The council directed staff to take steps to discontinue a homebuyers assistance program offered by the city. The Down Payment and Closing Cost Assistance Program has not closed a loan since its start this past May. The program will end and other uses for its remaining fund balance will be pursued by city staff.

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