Poverty Reduction Task Force Request Funding Proposals

Tory Irgang, United Way of Southern Chautauqua County executive director, addresses about 40 people who attended the Empire State Poverty Reduction Initiative request for proposals informational meeting Thursday.
P-J photo by Dennis Phillips

Tory Irgang, United Way of Southern Chautauqua County executive director, addresses about 40 people who attended the Empire State Poverty Reduction Initiative request for proposals informational meeting Thursday. P-J photo by Dennis Phillips

About 40 people from local nonprofit organizations attended the informational meeting on how to apply for funding to curtail poverty in Jamestown.

On Thursday, Tory Irgang, United Way of Southern Chautauqua County executive director, and Krista Camarata, United Way of Southern Chautauqua County director of community impact, led the informational meeting on request for proposals for Empire State Poverty Reduction Initiative funding.

ESPRI was first introduced by Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s during his State of the State address last year. Jamestown was one of 16 cities in the state selected to receive $1 million in funding to participate in the poverty reduction program.

The Jamestown ESPRI task force consists of representatives from the city, county and state government; local school district and educational organizations; nonprofit and faith-based community organizations; local businesses who employee local people; workforce service entities; economic development organizations; public safety officials; and health services providers.

The local ESPRI task force, which was created by the United Way of Southern Chautauqua County, who is the administrator of Jamestown’s ESPRI program, has been meeting since November to develop a plan for solutions to help those living in poverty in Jamestown.

Camarata said a letter of intent from local nonprofit agencies is needed by Tuesday if they plan on applying for ESPRI funding. The request for proposals applications describing an organizations project and goals will need to be submitted by Oct. 6.

Camarata said organizations will be submitting their applications through chautauquagrants.org. She said there is no maximum amount, other than the $1 million the state funded the program, of funding a nonprofit organization can ask for, but the minimum is $10,000.

Irgang said the aim, or goal, of Jamestown’s ESPRI program is to reduce the number of ALICE families by 160 by 2027. ALICE is an acronym for Asset Limited, Income Constrained and Employed, which represents nearly 8,000 city households.

The point of the ESPRI program is to find transformational initiatives that are new or go further than what is currently being offered, Irgang said. She said after the request for proposal applications are received, they will divide the local ESPRI task force members into groups to analyze them. At this point, local organizations will be invited to provide more in-depth information on their proposal for task force members. The task force will then select what proposal or proposals will receive ESPRI funding. Irgang said she would like the task force to make their decision on proposals by the beginning of November.

Irgang also said that organizations will not have to wait for state officials to provide the funding if their proposal is selected. She said the United Way will start appropriating funds for the ESPRI project or projects right after they are selected by the task force.

“We want big ideas. We want to turn what we do on its ear,” Irgang said. “This is a tremendous opportunity.”

For more information on Jamestown’s ESPRI program, go to the United Way of Southern Chautauqua County’s website — uwayscc.org –or contact Camarata at kcamarata@uwayscc.org or by calling 483-1561, ext. 201.

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