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Community groups get grant funds

Joshua Sebold
Staff Writer

The Plumas County Community Development Commission (CDC) board approved the regional Community Action Agency's (CAA) funding decisions for the 2011 calendar year at a December meeting.

The local CAA serves as an advisory board, helping the CDC decide where to give out community service grant funds in Lassen, Plumas and Sierra Counties.

These grants should not be confused with the county funded economic development grants, which will be given out by the Plumas Board of Supervisors in January.

CAA Chairman Elliott Smart, who also serves as Plumas County's social services director, said this funding was intended for community based organizations and government entities who help "low-income and underserved populations in the county."

Smart said organizations in Plumas County received $33,624, while the county retained $30,000 to conduct grant research on the behalf of community organizations and provide them assistance with the application process.

"I have to say that has been a hugely successful activity over the course of time," the chairman commented.

"That small investment of roughly $30,000 has generated millions of dollars for our community based organizations. It's just a huge return on that kind of investment."

CDC Executive Director David Keller said a new program this year was a Lifeline emergency call system for seniors, provided through Plumas District Hospital's Plumas Health Care Foundation.

Chester Commissioner Sherrie Thrall was pleased to see Plumas was getting funding for work in other counties, like the Plumas County Library's literacy program in Sierra County.

Keller agreed this was one of the better aspects of the program; the counties worked together and took a regional approach to problem solving.

Graeagle Commissioner Ole Olsen asked if any requests for funding were turned down.

Smart said all the Plumas applications were funded, although most got less than they solicited.

He added that the CAA had never been able to fund so many requests before.

CDC Chairwoman Lori Simpson, who represents Plumas on the CAA board, said the group put an emphasis on family resource centers this year.

Keller agreed, explaining the centers served as "one-stop organizations that deal with a variety of issues and problems in the community and really need assistance and support because they really do provide such a wide variety of services and really are a point of contact for lots of people."

Thrall commented that she really appreciated the grant assistance program, as it allowed groups like the county's small recreation districts to pursue larger funding opportunities, which they would struggle to do otherwise with their limited resources.

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