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Nonprofits Have Key Role in Drawing Down Stimulus
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Nearly $3 billion of stimulus money is on its way to Connecticut, but more could be in store from new grants and other funding opportunities. Nonprofit funders are trying to make sure as much as possible makes it into Connecticut communities.

The Connecticut Council for Philanthropy is holding five forums across the state to get the word out to community organizations about the new pots of money from Washington.

The stimulus legislation set up a variety of funding mechanisms and formulas, and as Shelley Geballe of Connecticut Voices for Children told the crowd in Hartford, the windows of opportunity are fleeting.

"It's a very fast-moving train," she says, "Some deadlines have already passed for applying for the funds. Just one example, the funding for youth mentoring, the deadline is Monday." 

Some of the stimulus money due to Connecticut will help plug the state budget deficit. More money could come from competitive grants that the state, municipalities and nonprofits receive.  

But there's more to do right now than send off grant applications on time. Another big job for nonprofits is to make sure residents in need take advantage of new sources of money, that will in turn bolster the state's economy. That includes everything from bigger tax credits for college students to new support for small businesses and unemployed youth.

"The money coming in for summer youth programs will basically double the capacity to give jobs to at-risk youth," Geballe says. "We have to find 5,000 more youth to get summer employment, so that's a challenge for all of you to help identify those people."

While the rush to get in line for funding is well underway, Connecticut's still waiting for most of the stimulus checks to be cut. The only new federal money that has arrived so far is a $25 weekly bump to unemployment compensation and increased food stamp benefits.