By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
Gov. Mark Gordon unveiled a new program on Tuesday that would provide grant funding to nonprofit organizations that have provided public assistance or seen a decline in donations during the coronavirus pandemic.
The governor has allocated more than $12.1 million in CARES Act funding for the Community Charitable Relief Program to Wyoming counties and tribal governments.
All decisions on funding will be made at the local level, with county commissioners and tribal governments in charge of distributing the grant funds to local entities.
With the new Congressional aid package extending the deadline states have to use CARES Act dollars, counties and tribes have until March 1 to distribute the grant funding. However, Gordon is urging local governments to act quickly to ensure the funds reach organizations in need.
“No one can say this has been an easy year. There are so many needs that have been highlighted by the challenge of this virus and all that accompanied it,” Gordon said. “Never has the work of charitable organizations been more important and they have shouldered additional responsibilities in so many ways. This program will give county and tribal governments the ability to provide some more support to those organizations that they know have served the public and been impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.”
Gordon expressed his appreciation to state House Speaker Rep. Steve Harshman, R-Casper, for his leadership in developing this program.
Harshman said that there is much work to be done around the state.
“There have been so many acts of kindness in all of our neighborhoods and it is so heartening to know how much Wyoming people really care and how generous we are,” Harshman said. “With that I am pleased to see this program come to a group of important organizations that were somewhat overlooked in the CARES funding process. These organizations do the Lord’s work and there is no better time to help and support those who help and support so many others.”
The governor also thanked incoming Speaker Eric Barlow, R-Gillette, Senate President Drew Perkins, R-Casper and incoming Senate President Dan Dockstader, R-Afton, for their support of the program.
“I commend the governor for coordinating this work through the state’s county commissions,” Dockstader. “They understand the needs of their individual charities.”
Jim Willox, Converse County Commissioner and president of the Wyoming County Commissioners Association said the program provides commissioners an opportunity to direct much-needed relief to nonprofit organizations in their communities.
“The opportunity for commissioners to work closely with Governor Gordon to get money into the hands of those organizations meeting the growing needs of people in our communities is appreciated,” Willox said. “This will be welcome relief for many of our neighbors as we close a difficult year.”
Wyoming nonprofit organizations are encouraged to contact county commissioners or the tribal business council in their service area for additional details on the grant process.