by Bill Hoffmann & Jeremy Stratton (October 24, 2007)
COMO—The Southeast Como Improvement Association (SECIA) has received the largest private grant in its history — a two-year, $120,000 grant from the McKnight Foundation.
The grant will help fund SECIA’s environmental initiatives and “green village” project. The SECIA website defines the project as “a loosely defined idea based on core sustainability principals,” and goes on to state that all of its community initiatives — including housing, safety, livability, transportation, the environment and history — are interconnected.
At SECIA’s annual meeting in October, neighborhood residents and stakeholders voted unanimously to match the McKnight grant with $100,000 of program income from a revolving grant program. That money will go largely toward staffing, said James De Sota, SECIA’s neighborhood coordinator. SECIA currently has two full-time staff people, one part-time staffperson and an annual operating budget of around $150,000.
“It will keep us until the end of 2008 at the current staffing,” said SECIA President Wendy Menken at the meeting. After the vote, board member Joan Menken thanked residents for the vote and applauded the SECIA staff.
A written statement presented at the annual meeting emphasized the importance of allocating funds toward staff to complement the environmental grant. Without the funding, “most of SECIA’s current functions will end before the spring of 2008, including the neighborhood office, the neighborhood coordinator [position], the SECIA website, and the Tidbits and the Comotion [publications].”
last revised: October 24, 2007