To the Hilton Head Island Town Council
Memo from Risa Sreden Prince, Chair, GIC Government Policy Committee
Subject: Town of Hilton Head Island Adopts GIC Government Policy Committee Recommended Affiliated Agency Policy
The Town Council of Hilton Head Island unanimously adopted a new Affiliated Agency Funding Policy, based on the recommendation of GIC’s Government Policy Committee. Affiliated Agencies are nonprofit organizations, whose projects are not eligible for ATAX funding (due to legislative restrictions on those funds), yet provide significant and often vital, support to the community.
As the economic impact of COVID began to be felt in early 2020, community members recommended the Town of Hilton Head Island establish a relief fund to distribute supplemental grants to assist nonprofit agencies that provide direct financial relief for primary needs to residents (rent, food, medical care). The Town chose to implement this recommendation with administrative assistance from the Community Foundation of the Lowcountry. Subsequently, some organizations sought and received COVID hardship funding by direct requests to Town Council members, while at least one other nonprofit’s request was ignored. The Town acknowledged it did not have a fair and equitable procedure to consider financial requests from organizations. Community members expressed concern and in response, the Town promised to develop a standardized policy for future allocations to the groups, called Affiliated Agencies.
By June 2021, the policy had not yet been established. Town revenue during 2020 had not been substantially impacted by COVID shutdowns, so normal funding for nonprofits was expected to be maintained. Federal ARPA funds were becoming a reality, yet the organizations needing funding to serve basic community needs for those who were directly impacted by COVID still had no means of applying.
Having followed this Affiliated Agency issue, Greater Island Council’s Government Policy Committee (GPC) considered whether getting involved would align with GIC’s goals. They concluded that this issue was a good fit with GIC’s Community Unity efforts and voted to develop a recommendation for the Town at the June 2021 meeting. At the July 2021 meeting, the Committee unanimously voted to send a policy recommendation to the Town, modeled on best practices of other world class organizations including the United Way.
The Town responded favorably. Many of the GPC’s recommendations were incorporated into the Town’s new Affiliated Agencies Funding Request Application, which was unanimously adopted by Town Council on August 19, 2021. The application form will be on the Town’s website soon.
This is an excellent example of how GIC’s goal of “Collaborate, Do Good, and Deliver” can improve the Quality of Life for our community. Opening this funding to all qualified Affiliated Agencies will ensure fair and equitable distribution of the town’s resources to serve the greatest public good. While this specific policy will only be used by a limited number of agencies, its impact on our residents will be widespread.