In the upcoming annual grant award process scheduled for July 21, 2020, we appeal to the Mayor and Council not to provide any funding to the Coronado Senior Association (CSA) for two main reasons:

First, the City’s Spreckels Center staff no longer needs any assistance in providing programs and services for the Coronado senior population. Funding for CSA results in CSA duplicating the City’s efforts at the Center.

Second, CSA’s grant application demonstrates that CSA does not meet five of the requirements mandated by the Coronado Community Grant Program policy. (Words below in quotes come verbatim from the City’s policy.)

Grants are reserved for organizations that can provide services “more efficiently and economically than otherwise possible through the municipal corporation.”

CSA asks for money for two part-time personnel to do the same job as performed by the City’s Spreckels Center professional staff. CSA offers the same-ol’ activities from their 35-year history – mostly card/table games for a very small number of people. In fact, CSA’s use of space in the Center impedes the Spreckels staff from further expanding the wide breadth of activities that are of interest to much larger numbers of seniors.

Grant recipients must offer a program that “represents an evidence-based approach reflecting best-practices with measurable, reportable outcomes.”

CSA’s grant application presents no evidence-based approach and no best practices. Their proposal includes no measurable, reportable outcomes, either historical or proposed for the future.

Grant recipients must have “success in obtaining outside funds or in-kind services to leverage city grant contribution.”

CSA’s grant application states that it has received City funding every year of its 35-year existence, and acknowledges making no serious attempt to raise other funding. When the Spreckels Center Operations Plan was approved by the Mayor and Council in May 2016 (four years ago), it explicitly stated that CSA would be funded for three years and that CSA would need to operate thereafter without a City subsidy. CSA agreed to those terms. Then they begged for and received a fourth year of funding. And they are asking for still more. Enough is enough!

Grant recipients must have “trained personnel … to provide services to the population served.”

The biographies of its personnel show no education or training in providing services to the age 50+ population that Spreckels Center serves.

Prospective grantees must provide “data demonstrating the successful provision of social services to the proposed population.”

CSA provides no such data in its application. It is worth noting that reports published by the CSA show most CSA events draw only four attendees. For comparison, the typical attendee count is upwards of 25 people at Spreckels staff-sponsored events.

In their grant application, CSA tells a number of falsehoods, perhaps expecting grant evaluators not to do any fact-checking. Two of the falsehoods are especially egregious:

CSA states, “There is little evidence to show that the CSA could function without the money made available through this grant.” However, CSA’s financial statement shows in excess of $84,000 in cash on hand – enough to pay all CSA’s expenses for more than two full years! Clearly this is evidence that they CAN function without City (taxpayer) money.

CSA also states that using volunteers to run CSA activities “is not at all feasible,” despite the fact that many of CSA’s activities currently ARE run by volunteers. Its sister club at the Center – the Coronado Lawn Bowling Club – is operated entirely by volunteers. The Spreckels Center staff, too, utilizes volunteers for most of its activities. There is nothing unique or difficult about what CSA does that precludes volunteers running its organization!

CSA’s rambling 63-page application contains all sorts of extraneous material for no apparent purpose: CSA By-Laws, contracts, Conflict Resolution Policy, quotes from magazines, and an unending number of generalizations having nothing to do with the qualifications of CSA to perform tasks germane to the grant. Notably missing from the grant application are two items that are required to be included: its budget for the term covered by the potential grant, and its anti-nepotism policy.

CSA’s grant request asks for $35,000 to pay for two part-time staff members, while at the same time its included financial statement shows it spends only $4,000 per year on “activities” for its members. The Lawn Bowling Club, by comparison, receives no City funding, has no paid staff, and utilizes all its funds for member activities in addition to donating $7,300 per year to the City to offset the cost of operating the Center.

In summary, the Coronado Senior Association does not meet the City’s written requirements to be awarded a grant. CSA is a hindrance to innovative programs that the Center staff would like to offer and the vast majority of attendees obviously want. Thirty-five years of continuous City funding to the Coronado Senior Association is enough! We appeal to the Mayor and Council to stop propping up an organization that not only has outlived its usefulness, but is in the way.

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