Grossmont district to aid renovation
By Anne Krueger
, UNION-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER
Thursday, December 24, 2009 at 12:01 a.m.
LA MESA — The Boys & Girls Club runs exercise and sports programs, teaches children about good eating habits and warns them about the dangers of alcohol and drugs — health benefits that were enough to persuade the Grossmont Healthcare District to award the club $100,000 for clubhouse renovation.
, a district board director, voted against the award last week because he didn’t believe it complied with the district’s goal of awarding money to help health care.
The money for the Boys & Girls Club will come from district reserves instead of from its grants fund because it is considered a one-time expense, said Barry Jantz
, chief executive of the health care district.
, an activist who monitors East County government agencies, told board members they should not give money to the Boys & Girls Club when other organizations such as health clinics that serve the poor have received less money.
“I think this is absurd,” said Lutz, who lives just outside El Cajon. “Your responsibility is for health care. This is a misappropriation of your attention and your money.”
In August, the Boys & Girls Club Foundation had asked for $300,000 over three years as part of its $3.5 million campaign to renovate a 50-year-old clubhouse in El Cajon and to create a new teen center in the former Wells Park recreation center building.
The district asked Jerry Fazio, executive director of the foundation, to provide more information showing how the grant would benefit health and wanted the money set aside for a specific purpose within the project.
Fazio said the money will be used for construction and supplies for the club’s “Little Rascals Room” for children six to eight years old. They will be part of a “Healthy Kids” program conducting daily weigh-ins, monitoring the food they eat and setting fitness goals.
“The Boys & Girls Clubs of East County are in good health,” Fazio told the board. He said the district money will be matched by $100,000 from Jerry Hollingsworth, co-chair of the foundation’s fundraising campaign.
The health care district, which covers 750 square miles in East County, has cut back grants it’s awarding this year because of an expected decline in property tax revenue that it receives. The district allocated $2.2 million of its $6 million budget this year for the grants, down from $2.5 million last year.
Because less money is available, the district also established a policy that recipients who had gotten money in past years would receive half that amount this year. The amount is increased by 15 percent if the agency is headquartered in East County and by another 15 percent if it primarily serves East County residents.