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Grants Committee Meeting
Commission Office, Helena, Montana

Grants Committee members, Betsy Baumgart, chair, Hal Stearns, and staff, Clint Blackwood and Rita Cortright met at the Commission’s office and were joined via conference call by Betty Stone and Wyman McDonald on May 11, 2004 to discuss allocation of funds for the Commission’s 2005 Grants Program.

Clint Blackwood reviewed the process of soliciting input from Commission members, Regional Bicentennial Commissions and Tribal representatives regarding their recommendations for future allocation of funds for the Commission’s Grants Program. Copies of all responses to the solicitation had been provided to Grants Committee members prior to today’s meeting. He reported on the Executive Committee’s recent meeting convened to discuss legislative strategy. During that meeting they also discussed the future of the Grants Program and made a recommendation to the Grants Committee that any available Commission funds for the next two years be made available to Signature and Significant Events and Corps II host communities.

Betsy Baumgart explained that she tallied the responses and ranked the funding priorities in order of importance as follows: Signature Events, Significant Events, Corps II host communities, reduced funding to projects and reduced or eliminated funding for O&P grants. All members of the committee agreed with her interpretation of the priorities.

Mr. Blackwood said the committee needed to formulate a recommendation for presentation to the Commission at the June 17 meeting. He recommended funding Signature Events, Significant Events, Corps II host communities and O&P grants, and not funding projects for 2005. Mr. McDonald questioned the effectiveness of the O&P Grants for the Tribes. Ms. Stone said the O&P Grant was essential originally for regional commissions; however she said the NE Plains RBC would continue to participate and function in the event the grant was eliminated.

Mr. Blackwood reviewed a sample scenario for distribution of 2005 grant funds with the Commission’s budget and Travel Montana potentially providing a total of $150,000. He said the Forest Service and Qwest might partner with the Commission to provide funds for the 2005 Grants Program, but there was not commitment at this time. However, he reported that the Forest Service had agreed to follow the Commission’s funding priorities. He recommended funding the April ’05 significant event at $9,000, Corps II host communities at $500/day for 37 presentation days for $18,500 total; and dividing the remaining $100,000 on a percentage basis between the two Signature Events. In FY’05 there will be 6 Corps II host sites for a total of 37 presentation days. In FY’06 there will be 12 sites for a total of 65 presentation days. He suggested using a Letter of Agreement similar to the current O&P agreement for contracting with the host communities. Mr. Stearns recommended restricting the use of funds to speaker honoraria, and per diem expenses.

After further discussion a second scenario for distribution of funds was outlined which included $10,000 for the April ’05 significant event, $18,500 for Corps II host communities, $1,000 for each of the 22 entities eligible for O&P grants for a total of $22,000, and an $80,000/$20,000 split of the remaining $100,000 between the Explore! the Big Sky and Clark on the Yellowstone signature events. The committee agreed that the expenditure of any available additional grant funds would be recommended by the Grants Committee for consideration by the full Commission at a later date. Betsy Baumgart asked if all of the grants would require a match and Mr. Blackwood recommended requiring a 1:2 soft or hard match. The committee members agreed.

The Grants Committee agreed to bring the following recommendation to the full Commission at the June 17, 2004 meeting in Livingston:

Based on the availability of $100,000 from the Commission’s budget and $50,000 from Dept. of Commerce – Travel Montana, a total of $150,000 in grant funds would be allocated as follows for the 2005 Grants Program: