Aspen Programs, organizations that can apply for municipal grants | New



Local arts, culture and community programs, as well as health and social service organizations, can now apply for grants from the City of Aspen until January 7.

Each year, the city gives grants to various organizations throughout the valley, ranging from arts programs on Aspen Public Radio to nonprofits like the Buddy Program. Last year, the city awarded a total of $ 1.4 million in grants, according to communications director Mitzi Rapkin.

“It’s a way to really support the community in a way that helps it grow,” she said.

The city has made a number of improvements to the grant program this year, designed to increase community participation, transparency and efficiency, Rapkin said in a press release. The changes include the removal of the first year funding cap, publicly available review criteria and an overall philosophy of the grant program as well as areas of strategic focus for each grant program.

There will also be a separate grant review committee for each of the three grant categories: arts and culture, community programs, and health and social services.

The city does not have its own health and social services department, but thanks to intergovernmental agreements with partners such as Pitkin County, the city has in the past been able to provide grants to programs like Aspen Strong, Aspen Homeless Shelter and Planned Parenthood. This year, according to the city’s strategic direction statement, grants for health and social services will focus on programs that address mental health and addiction, including reducing suicide rates. In addition, programs that support community and family ties are also a priority area.

“The city of Aspen strives to be a healthy and resilient community by supporting a comprehensive system of accessible mental and physical health care, social services and community resources,” the statement said.

The announcement on Wednesday of the new grant application process came a day after the election in which poll question 2A – which will divert money from the Wheeler Opera House’s real estate transfer tax fund to support the Wheeler Opera House, the Red Brick Center for the Arts and other arts and culture organizations – was victorious. However, Rapkin said the new grant program is unrelated to the election and it’s too early to say whether arts organizations will receive funding through WRETT instead of a city grant.

“Going forward, because of last night’s vote, instead of the Red Brick being funded from our general fund, it will be funded from the Wheeler RETT funds,” she said. “As for the money for the arts grant in the future and the adoption of the ballot initiative last night, it is too early to tell.”

Aspen City Council will be working in the coming weeks to decide how to appropriate WRETT funds among more than 20 local arts organizations. The Red Brick will receive some of the money, although it is established as a municipal service and has not received a grant from the city for a number of years, instead getting its money from the fund. general of the city.

In a business meeting on Oct. 11, Aspen city council discussed the red brick during a 2022 budget review presentation. Red Brick manager Sarah Roy asked the council for funds for capital projects such as sewer maintenance and other expenses, including money for new full-time employees. She also said she expected a 2-4% increase in facility fees and fees for new art programs for more flexibility in creating new classes.

Mayor Torre asked if a ‘yes’ vote on 2A could have an impact on removing part of the request from the general fund and potentially freeing up space for other funding channels. City manager Sara Ott said the 2022 budget was based on the presumption that there was no question on the ballot in order to be conservative in case 2A did not pass.

“If the ballot issue were to pass, what we would do would be make accounting changes,” she told Torre. “So when we present you with an appropriation order in January, we would in effect be appropriating a new section of the Wheeler Opera House fund to fund the Red Brick Center.”

Going forward, any local arts, culture, community, or health and social services organization that meets the overall philosophy of the grants program is eligible to apply for a city grant. Information on exam criteria, eligibility, and the application process can be found at


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