Nonprofit funding rules too unclear

Daily Editorial Board

Contention within the Minneapolis City Council arose regarding nonprofit funding within Mayor Betsy Hodges’ 2016 budget for the Community Planning and Economic
Development department. The proposed budged allots $837,000 to nonprofit organizations and nongovernment initiatives, ranging from an “Opportunity Hub” that would provide job training in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood to exercise classes for senior citizens. 
 
Some Minneapolis City Council members have questioned the mayor’s criteria for selecting which nonprofits to fund, and we support their call for clarification.
Minneapolis is home to a high number of nonprofit groups that are as diverse as the city’s residents and the many different neighborhoods in which they live. We do not want to suggest that the nonprofits Hodges has selected do not deserve funding, but rather highlight that there are countless nonprofits within the city that would be able to improve their communities with extra government money. 
 
Additionally, council members have questioned the mayor’s decision to propose funding for nonprofits that address diverse issues rather than adopting a concentrated funding strategy to improve a single- issue area. 
 
Minneapolis should establish a transparent and standardized system for determining how and why nonprofit organizations receive funding. Assigning funds without explanation creates confusion about the city’s goals and could leave some nonprofit organizations struggling to realize why they did not receive funding. The strong and vibrant nonprofit community in Minneapolis is one of the city’s most valuable assets, and its funding should be deliberate and strategic.