VIEWPOINT: New initiative aims to 'Put Claremont First'
Readers of the COURIER have been kept informed about the financial challenges and projected structural deficits our city has been quietly dealing with for over a decade.
Until two years ago, our city council was able to adopt balanced budgets that did not appear on the surface to impact the day to day operations of our city, or the quality of our lives and leisure moments spent enjoying our community.
However, having exhausted all austerity and cost containment measures over the last five years, together with the public’s rejection of a number of new revenue generating proposals recommended by staff and supported by our council, this year’s budget will contain many adjustments that will have very visible impacts on our city’s staffing and operations.
Of particular concern to the signatories of this announcement are the elimination of both grants to local service providing community-based organizations (CBO’s) and contracts with local partners that perform significant community enhancing and preservation tasks for our city.
With already insufficient means and with the added revenue reductions anticipated as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the proposed city budget for 2020-21 does not contain funding for either CBO grants—which have traditionally provided assistance to nonprofits such as CLASP, CHAP, AgingNext and Inland Valley Hope Partners—or contract renewals with Sustainable Claremont, Housing Claremont, Claremont Heritage and the Chamber of Commerce.
We share a concern for the more than 300 nonprofit organizations that claim Claremont as their home and in one way or another are a part of the network of caring and social engagement that gives life to our sense of being a community.
We are, however, particularly concerned about the small number of organizations listed above and a handful of others that our community has become dependent upon for the significant contributions they make to the social, environmental and economic quality of life and well being of Claremont, and which have come to rely, at least in part, on grants and contracts they have received from the city to provide programs and services.
Which brings us to a fundraising initiative we think will provide Claremonters with an easy way to acknowledge and fund the significant work each does to preserve, promote and sustain our unbroken legacy of a caring and progressive community.
Its name/slogan, the “Put Claremont First Fundraising Initiative,” succinctly captures the mission and vision of the initiative. Its success, however, is contingent on the correctness of COURIER reporter Steven Felschundneff’s opinion that “Claremonters are generous people. Whether it’s volunteering time or writing a check for a worthy cause, we are pretty good at working together to make this a better place.”
As former public servants who proudly served our city, we certainly agree with this characterization of Claremonters, and fully expect when Claremonters are given the opportunity to put these Claremont-based organizations first when deciding to write “a check to a worthy cause,” that they will do so “to make this a better place.”
The Put Claremont First website is currently under construction and will go live on June 1, 2020. It is designed to be a single, no-fee portal that lists the organizations, their contributions to our community, and a link to their websites where the donations are received, recorded and receipted.
The purpose is to both facilitate the replacement of public funds with your contributions, and to increase the capacity of local community-based organizations that make Claremont a better place.
When giving, PUT CLAREMONT FIRST to KEEP CLAREMONT FIRST.
Sam Pedroza, Tony Ramos, Joe Lyons