NSEDC Board Approves $133,333 Mid-Year Community Benefit Share for 15 Member Communities
Recognizing the financial need many Norton Sound communities experience in the face of dwindling budgets, Norton Sound Economic Development Corporation’s (NSEDC) Board of Directors voted to pass on nearly $2 million to member communities on May 10. The funding will come in the form of a mid-year Community Benefit Share issued to the city government in the amount of $133,333 for each of NSEDC’s 15 member communities.
The distribution came as a result of Siu Alaska Corporation issuing a $2 million dividend to NSEDC earlier in the week. Siu is NSEDC’s wholly owned for-profit subsidiary, and was established in 2008 to manage and hold assets. Siu has realized greater profitability as it has focused its investments around core areas of the Bering Sea fishing industry, which in turn has allowed it to provide NSEDC with dividends like the one issued May 8.
NSEDC Board Chairman Dan Harrelson of White Mountain noted that the Siu distribution was well-timed. “NSEDC’s normal Community Benefit Share distribution comes at the end of the year, but we have been hearing from many of our communities that they are facing significant needs now,” Harrelson said. “Whether it’s for aging critical infrastructure, like water, sewer and power; support for our youth and elders; or search and rescue equipment; our communities utilize this funding for items that are vital to the health and wellbeing of our residents.”
Traditionally, NSEDC issues an annual Community Benefit Share at its quarterly meeting held in November. For the past five years, the share has been issued at $150,000 per community. The shares are distributed to the municipality in each community following a public meeting at which the city council determines the best use of the funds. This is the second time that NSEDC has issued an additional, mid-year Community Benefit Share, with the first being in 2012. This latest distribution will put the total amount NSEDC has allocated to member communities through the Community Benefit Share at $30.2 million.
Board awards $760,000 in Outside Entity Funding Grants
In addition to the mid-year Community Benefit Share, the NSEDC Board approved 18 community-level grants for a total of $668,000, and two regional grants totaling $92,000 through the Outside Entity Funding (OEF) program on May 10. The OEF program is NSEDC’s primary means of funding requests from entities in member communities.
Since 2003, NSEDC has annually set aside funding through the OEF program to contribute to regional programs, projects and activities benefiting member communities. A total of 90 percent of funds allocated to the OEF program is divided equally between each of NSEDC’s 15 member communities. Applications for community funding are reviewed by a local committee which passes on its funding recommendations to the NSEDC Board for final approval. The remaining 10 percent of the OEF program allocation is reserved for project proposals from regional entities.
“Year after year, the OEF program allocates funding toward programs and projects that make our communities better places to live,” Chairman Harrelson said. “Sometimes that means new housing for a VPSO or a new fire truck. Other times it means our students are able to explore the wider world and take trips to places like Washington, D.C. We are fortunate and honored to be able to support so many good causes in our communities each year.”
A list detailing all 2018 OEF awards is included at the end of this release.
Board Awards First Growing Our Own Teachers Grant
As part of NSEDC’s wider effort to support more residents working in our communities’ classrooms as teachers, the NSEDC Board awarded its first Growing Our Own Teachers Discretionary Grant to Kawerak’s Head Start Program on May 10. The $20,000 award will fund a two-week intensive course for up to ten Head Start teachers from throughout the region, allowing them to earn credit toward a credential or degree in early childhood education (ECE). It is a federal requirement that Head Start teachers have earned or be working toward a credential or degree in the ECE field.
“The teachers in the Head Start program are often the first teachers our children have in many of our communities,” said NSEDC Vice Chairman Dean Peterson of Golovin. “These teachers help guide our children at one of the most important times in their schooling. I am proud that NSEDC is able to help support our residents in providing this invaluable service to our youth.”
The Head Start program serves more than 230 children in 11 Bering Strait communities.
Revolving Loan Cap Raised to $35,000
The NSEDC Board also voted for a $10,000 increase in funding available to Norton Sound commercial fishermen through its Revolving Loan program. Following a discussion on the rising cost of equipment and freight in recent years, the board increased the cap on a revolving loan from $25,000 to $35,000. NSEDC’s Revolving Loan program is designed to assist resident commercial fishermen in purchasing fishing equipment such as vessels, vessel upgrades, fishing permits, motors and gear. The program requires a 10 percent down payment and seven-year payback. The loans charge no interest for the first three years and two percent for the remaining term.
NSEDC Funds InReach Communication Devices for Search & Rescue
Noting the benefit of being able to track and communicate with parties out in the field, the NSEDC Board voted to fund two InReach satellite communication devices for search and rescue teams each member community. The devices allow someone in the field two be tracked by GPS location in real time as they move, as well as send text messages back and forth through a satellite system. Additionally, the devices have an SOS function, which allows the user to send a distress signal to a response center that will alert local authorities to the exact location of the sender and allow them to connect with local response groups.
“These devices could easily save a life,” said NSEDC Chairman Harrelson. “Whether it is loaned out to a traveler who gets in trouble or helping keep base operations in better contact with search and rescue parties, these devices will allow people to report exactly where they are and what issues or problems they may be facing.”
In addition to providing the devices, NSEDC will supply one-year subscriptions for the satellite service they require.
For more information on the mid-year Community Benefit Share or other actions taken at the NSEDC First Quarter Meeting, please contact Tyler Rhodes at (888) 650-2477.
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|2018 NSEDC OEF Awards Summary|
|Brevig Mission School||Healthy Hands, Hearts and Habits||$40,832|
|Native Village of Elim||Public Safety||$33,197|
|Gambell Schools||Gambell Schools’ 2018-2020 Athletic Request||$55,100|
|Boys & Girls Club of Southcentral Alaska||Boys & Girls Club of Nome – Expand STEM Programming||$24,985|
|Nome Community Center||Young Building Refurbishment||$43,088|
|Nome Kennel Club||NKC Trail Staking||$5,400|
|Nome Northstar Swim Team||Swim Season 2018/2019||$21,000|
|Native Village of Savoonga||Savoonga Elder Nutrition Program||$87,669|
|City of Shaktoolik||Search and Rescue||$60,000|
|City of Shaktoolik||Septic System Project||$47,219|
|City of Teller||Community Van||$47,147|
|City of Teller||Fire Equipment||$46,550|
|City of Teller||Sewing Materials||$1,125|
|City of Teller||Teller Cultural Festival||$9,000|
|City of Teller||Teller Search and Rescue Equipment||$17,020|
|Teller School||Teller School New Score Board||$8,249|
|City of Unalakleet||Purchase of a bobcat and a dump truck||$60,000|
|Native Village of Wales||Kingikmiut Dance Festival||$60,086|
|Total Community-Level Grants||$667,666|
|Kawerak, Inc.||2018 Regional Conference||$80,000|
|PAWS of Nome||PAWS of Nome Regional Outreach||$12,328|
|Total Regional-Level Grants||$92,328|
|Total of all OEF Grants||$759,994|