“It completely alters the direction that we’ve been going along with for years,” said Deputy of Community Services Gaby Flores, adding that some service areas, like the hospital and airport, don’t fall into the grant’s strategic goals. “That would be counterproductive to what we want to do here in Burbank, which is just involve anyone and everyone that wants to be connected.”
Since 1972, the Corporation for National and Community Service has subsidized a portion of the RSVP operating budget. This year, the corporation has asked applicants to streamline programs to solely serve six areas — disaster services, education, healthy futures, environmental stewardship, veterans and military families, and economic opportunity.
City officials plan to go for the grant anyway without making changes to the program, even though they know the chances of success are slim.
“We’re not going to limit our [volunteer] numbers, we’re going to be honest in what we can or can’t do and hope for best,” Flores said. “If they are flexible enough with the funding, great.”
Without the grant, the program would be short $43,000 annually, or about 24% of the program’s $179,977 annual operating budget. The city’s current RSVP grant funding will expire next March.
Councilman David Gordon commended city officials for taking a stand because in tough economic times, it’s hard to turn dollars away.
“Of more than anything, the greatest asset we have is our volunteers,” Gordon said.