Every year at city budget time there’s discussion of cutting funding to the Pratt Museum and the Homer Foundation. Every year I fear that the public has lost touch with the history behind that funding. In particular, I want Homer folks to understand that the city does not fund the Homer Foundation; it funds area non-profits through the foundation.
Years ago, non-profits went directly to the city council to request assistance. That political process was difficult for everyone, and a better way was offered. The Homer Foundation, using an application process and the expertise of community members, took over the task of distributing the city of Homer’s Grant Program.
This year the foundation awarded $19,000 of appropriated city funds plus a nearly-equal amount of earnings from the city’s endowment fund to eight local non-profits. All recipients put that funding to good use in programs that benefit our citizenry and leverage additional giving from other sources. The foundation awarded another $300,000 in grants from its donor-advised and other philanthropic funds. We have a tremendous asset in the Homer Foundation, which serves the city and all area residents through the generosity of so many.
The Pratt Museum has remained outside that grant process because of its separate history and special relationship with the city. While other cities generally own their community museums, Homer has been fortunate that the Pratt has operated so successfully as a non-profit, with just a little bit of needed help and recognition each year from the city.