City council OKs $50,000 to nonprofit health agencies

The Sequim City Council's work is more than setting policy.

For a number of years, the city has allocated funding to nonprofit health agencies in an effort to help Sequim residents who have difficulty obtaining health care services. Last year, the city's contribution helped five agencies serve 1,883 patients within the Sequim area.

For 2008, the council has allocated $50,000.

In 2007, the city donated $29,400 to five organizations within Clallam County. According to a letter sent out by United Way of Clallam County executive director Jody Moss, the city's 2007 allocated funding, "provided health care to those without insurance or access to a physician, a drop-in center for young Hispanic families, support for victims of domestic violence, dental access and fluoride treatments for young children and mental health services for the poor and for at-risk youth."

Moss noted that children who are exposed to domestic violence or abusive home lives are more likely to do poorly in school, act out and generally suffer from poor physical health.

The council, in a 7-0 vote on March 10, agreed to the distribution of $50,000 for 2008. The money is from the city's general fund. According to Sequim's administrative services director Karen Goschen, the amount of funding is not set in stone and can change depending on the council's direction.

Although the city has a standing rule that no more than five agencies be funded annually, a balance of $5,250 from 2007 made it possible to add a sixth agency, Family Planning of Clallam County. According to Moss, Family Planning was chosen because nearly 40 percent of the patients the agency saw last year came from the Sequim area.

The United Way has contracted with the city since 2002 to oversee the allocation process. Agencies interested in obtaining funding direct their proposals to the United Way. A fund distribution committee (which includes former city councilman John Beitzel) reviews the submitted proposals and makes a list of recommended agencies for the council's approval.

The funding criteria for 2008 was "early childhood development (0-4 years of age), health care access for the uninsured, mental health services for school age children and adults, and a critical need that otherwise would go unmet."

Sequim is not the only municipality to set aside such funding for health care related nonprofits. According to Moss, for 2008, Port Angeles put aside an estimated $124,000, and Clallam County allocated an estimated $61,000.

"A lot of municipalities are in a role of wanting to support those residents who are struggling with poverty," Moss said.

A breakdown

of Sequim's 2008

nonprofit funding

• Dungeness Valley Health & Wellness Clinic - $13,750

• Family Planning of Clallam County - $5,250

• First Step Family Support Center - $5,000

• Healthy Families - $10,000

• Olympic Community Mental Health Center - $7,500

• Peninsula Community Mental Health Center - $7,500

• United Way administrative charge (2 percent) - $1,000

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