Hancock will have a voice on the county’s Community Organization Funding Committee thanks to Commissioner Wayne Keefer and his approved nominee for a seat on the board.
Washington County Commissioners unanimously approved Shannon McKinley for the board during their September 26 meeting.
Keefer said the committee is sometimes confused with the Community Foundation of Washington County and the two are completely separate from each other.
The county government allocates an amount of money each year to help fund non-profits, a few of which are in Hancock. “It’s tax dollars, is what it is, to help various non-profits that otherwise ordinarily fall anywhere within our budget,” Keefer said.
Because county commissioners get a lot of requests for funding, the committee makes it more efficient and fair on how the money is handed out.
Each year, county commissioners establish priority areas to receive funding – family and children, domestic violence, arts and cultures, seniors, and recreation.
Last year, county government gave out $774,000 through this committee. Keefer didn’ t know what would be approved for next year’s budget.
As for the board who oversees the committee, each county commissioner nominates their own appointee, who would represent that commissioner. There are five board members total, now including McKinley.
To be eligible to get money from the committee, nonprofits must have previously applied and a recognized non-profit through the county’s Code of Local Public Law.
Once the list of recognized non-profits is approved, the committee makes recommendations to commissioners on how to evenly distribute the money amongst the non-profits.
Even though each commissioner gets their pick of a representative, the person still has to be voted on by the commissioners in an open meeting. The vote approving McKinley took place during the September 26 meeting.
Keefer said McKinley is a “great, fair, honest person” who loves to help organizations and doesn’t serve in any formal roles in those nonprofit organizations.
“I thought she would be a good pick,” Keefer said. “I think she’s well known and thought of highly in the community.”
McKinley will serve a four-year term on the board and could serve a second, and final, term if re-appointed.
“Anytime we have someone from the Hancock community to serve on a countywide board, that’s one more voice for smaller communities,” Keefer said. “And that’s a good thing.”
Keefer said McKinley and the rest of the board would receive and review “dozens and dozens” of applications and then spend several weeks reviewing and prioritizing on their own, before making a recommendation to county commissioners.
In an email to The Hancock News, McKinley said Keefer officially asked her to be his nominee at the beginning of September.
“I was honored to be nominated for the COF and very pleased to find out my nomination was approved by the board of commissioners,” she said.
McKinley added her term starts with an informative training session this month.
McKinley has served with many groups over the years and by fulfilling the nomination of serving on the COF, she said she’ll have the ability to not only see the funding needs and requests of her hometown, but many of the other county organizations.
“I look forward to working with the COF board and value having the opportunity to put my knowledge to work for the good of our many deserving non profit organizations in Washington County,” McKinley said.