Detroit's 'City Year' nonprofit loses annual grant, among others

Detroit's 'City Year' nonprofit loses annual grant, among others

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DETROIT, Mich. (WJBK) -

Non-profits across Detroit rely on city funding to get their jobs done. Agencies thought their funding was a done deal for this year, until recently when the emergency manager made some changes. Some agencies got more money and others' funding was completely cut off. One of those agencies that lost its money is Detroit's 'City Year' branch.

The city has given City Year Detroit a community block grant for the past 12 years. Executive Director Penny Bailer thought this year was no different. "We're very conservative. We don't plan unless we are sure the money is going to be there," she tells Fox 2's Alexis Wiley. The nonprofit has Americorp members in 11 schools throughout the city. "They serve from 7 in the morning to 5:30 at night, tutoring and mentoring the kids; being positive role models; being coaches and mentors," Bailer explains.

This year.city council awarded City Year Detroit an $89,000 grant. But months after being awarded the grant the city has now taken it away. The emergency manager's office, with the help of consultants and the Department of Planning and Development, changed the funding structure.

"There was apparently a public hearing which we were not notified of. And dozens of agencies were not notified. It was very quickly done, and I don't even how they failed to send out an email," Bailer says.

"It's unfortunate that we didn't communicate it better, but we really have to focus on how we can get those services and that money into the community in a much more efficient way," Bill Nowling tells Wiley. Nowling is the spokesperson for Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr. He says by cutting the number of recipients the city can cut down on administrative cost and make sure the money continues to support nonprofits who are making a difference in the city.

Meanwhile, organizations like City Year Detroit are left with a large hole to fill and need that's even greater. "I never dreamed the emergency manager would get involved in something that's already been completed. Work on next year's criteria! We've all been through so much to get this far. We've hired people and started the school year. Why go back and change it after the fact?" Bailer says.

City Year Detroit and other nonprofits can still apply for a grant next year, but until then, will have to fundraise to make up for what they've lost.

For more information on City Year Detroit, click here.

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