A committee selected its choices for recipients of casino grants last Friday, according to Joe Connor, director of the Unified Government Health Department.
He said the committee made its decisions, and the finalists will go before the Unified Government commissioners on May 16 to ratify them.
In all, the committee received 43 grant proposals that requested $1.7 million. A total of nearly $500,000 will be distributed, Connor said. The grant winners have not been notified yet, he added.
The funds will come from the $500,000 in community charitable donations pledged by the Hollywood Casino at Kansas Speedway when the project was approved. The funds will be distributed by the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation, which received the initial grant applications.
This year, the UG Commission decided all the charitable grants would be in the health field, to be used in Wyandotte County. They were to complement the Healthy Communities Wyandotte goals. The county has been ranked near the bottom of counties in the state for health. The grants that are selected are supposed to “increase knowledge and action toward long-term changes that enable our Wyandotte County community members to eat healthy food and be physically active,” according to the UG’s grant fund overview.
All grants are within a range of $10,000 to $50,000, he said. Also, they are all one-year grants, Connor said. The UG Commission earlier said it wanted providers to be able to leverage other funds, as well.
“I think that as far as moving the needle on numbers, on our community statistics, if we can sustain the giving of these grants for community health purposes, in five to 10 years down the road you will see a difference in our community health statistics,” Connor said.
A difference may not be seen in a year but it will be a sustained effort, he added.
Connor declined to release the names of the grant recipients, saying they are in draft form, until they are submitted later for the agenda for the commission meeting.