Thursday, August 13, 2009

Your Neighborhood Earmarks

Earmarks are now front and center in DC. They are the subject of Marion Barry's latest scandal. They are the target of legislators attempting to deal with a budget shortfall and the concern of nonprofits that rely upon them. Councilmember Mary Cheh has suggested a moratorium and Chairman Vincent Gray noted he might eliminate them completely so as to avoid favoritism.

Here are highlights of earmarks allocated to organizations that are either located in Ward 2 or that have programs serving the area. Later this week, I'll provide some thoughts on DC's earmarks and potential ways of improving the system.

[Note: Council rules adopted in January 2009 limited earmarks to $250,000, or $1 million for capital projects.]

Fiscal Year 2010

In FY 2010, proposed earmarks for nonprofit and arts organizations were included in the budget, many at the maximum level permitted ($1 million for capital improvements, $250,000 for other purposes), then slashed, then completely eliminated. I have not yet been able to confirm that all of those below are among the funds for social service and arts organizations that are gone, but you can see the amounts originally proposed and then the amounts after they were reduced.

  • Originally $1 million, reduced to $400,000, to the Phillips Collection for a capital grant for repairs and renovations.
  • Originally $1 million, reduced to $400,000, to the Washington Ballet to support facility modernization of a recently acquired structure.
  • $150,000 to Shaw Main Streets (not reduced).
  • Originally $250,000, reduced to $100,000, to the Friends of Kennedy Recreation Center to expand youth mentoring and community service programs at the Kennedy Recreation Center, to include a program by the Washington Chiefs to involve Shaw youth in sports and fitness programs, promote team building, teach healthy lifestyles, and promote leadership development.
  • Originally $250,000, reduced to $100,000, to the Kennedy Center to support cultural programming, including free performances.
  • Originally $250,000, reduced to $100,000, to Washington National Opera to support education and community programs for District youth.
  • Originally $250,000, reduced to $100,000, to Washington Performing Arts to provide performing arts education programs serving District children.
  • Originally $250,000, reduced to $100,000, to Safe Shores to provide additional support for operating the newly expanded DC Children’s Advocacy Center at the Bundy School.
  • Originally $250,000, reduced to $100,000, to the DC Jewish Community Center to expand cultural and artistic programs and services as a neighborhood hub in Dupont Circle.
  • Originally $250,000, reduced to $100,000, to Bread for the City.
  • Originally $250,000, reduced to $100,000, to DC Vote to support education, outreach, and advocacy efforts on District voting rights and related home rule issues.
  • $100,000 to the Mid-City Business Association ($60,000, reduced from proposed $150,000, for unspecified purposes, and a separate $40,000, reduced from proposed $100,000 to support its promotional and programmatic activities, including business promotional activities associated with the rebuilding of U Street).
  • Originally $100,000, reduced to $40,000, to the Alliance of Concerned Men.
  • Originally $100,000 reduced to $40,000, to the Greater Washington Fashion Chamber of Commerce.

Fiscal Year 2009

The DC Fiscal Policy Institute has a full, easily readable list of the $64 million in earmarks to more than 150 organizations included in the FY 2009 budget. Some highlights are below.

  • $10 million to Ford’s Theatre Society for a capital project.$1 million for the Washington Ballet for capital fund for their new building.
  • $1 million to Peaceaholics for gang intervention and support for at-risk youth.
  • $1 million for the Lincoln Theatre for operating and capital expenses, including structural upgrades, among other purposes.
  • $600,000 to the Historic Society of Washington for support for services that preserve and commemorate the history of the District of Columbia.
  • $500,000 to the Greater Washington Sports Alliance for operational support, specifically for efforts to attract sporting events to the District.
  • $500,000 to the Washington National Opera from maintaining and expanding education programs.
  • $500,000 to D.C. Vote for operational support.
  • $200,000 to the Alliance of Concerned Men for community services to families and at-risk children.
  • $200,000 to “Cease Fire . . . Don’t Smoke the Brothers” for stopping gang violence with a special concentration for preventing “beefs” or disputes among troubled youth.
  • $100,000 to the Greater Washington Fashion Chamber of Commerce for youth fashion vocational program and entrepreneurial fashion incubator.
  • $100,000 to the Chinatown Cultural Center to support the center that seeks to preserve and promote Chinatown and celebrate Chinese culture, history, language, and heritage.
  • $50,000 to Friends of Kennedy Playground for a capital project to include a water play area at the park and support for additional programming.

Fiscal Year 2008

  • $5 million to the Washington Ballet.
  • $1 million to the Washington Performing Arts Society.
  • $500,000 to Peaceoholics to support positive mentoring for youth.
  • $500,000 to Woolly Mammoth Theatre.
  • $500,000 to the Historical Society of Washington ($250,000 through Deputy Mayor for Planning and Development and $250,000 through Commission on the Arts and Humanities)
  • $300,000 to Cease Fire . . . Don’t Smoke the Brothers and Sisters, Inc.
  • $300,000 to CityDance to support general operations, outreach, and education programs at Mt. Vernon Square.
  • $150,000 to Friends of Kennedy Playground.
  • $125,000 Chinatown Community Cultural Center.
  • $100,000 to Bread for the City.


Greg Bloom said...

Cary, I'm pretty sure all earmarks have been eliminated (not just reduced) as of July 31st.

Cary Silverman said...

Thanks, Greg. I've revised the post. The amended budget passed by the Council on July 31, now two weeks ago, still does not appear to be available online. This, of course, highlights the lack of transparency and the poor Legislative Information Management System used in the District.


Substitute with Reductions:

Greg Bloom said...

Cary - Today, on Kojo Nnamdi's politics hour, Kojo will be discussing the effects of this earmark purge w/ Eduardo Romero of the Nonprofit Roundtable and local non-profit leaders.

Tune in @ 12:30pm: WAMU 88.5,

And ps, yes, we absolutely need more transparency. One more thing on the list.