MCTA seeking grants for museum | CraigDailyPress.com

MCTA seeking grants for museum

Part of agreement for office space

Collin Smith

— For the Moffat County Tourism Association, it’s that time renters see coming but don’t always budget accordingly.

It’s that time when renters look down the barrel of paying their dues.

In March, MCTA signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Museum of Northwest Colorado for office space used by the MCTA director.

In exchange for a home base, MCTA agreed to write grants totaling at least $5,000 for the museum by Dec. 31. The contract lasts for this year and 2008, and the museum must receive $5,000 each year.

The agency is in the middle of the grant process, but as of Wednesday’s MCTA workshop meeting, it had not secured a grant. If all the money is not found by year’s end, the difference must come out of the county budget.

MCTA operates on a lagged budget, meaning it uses money collected the previous year for the current one. If MCTA needs to file a supplemental budget request, the money would most likely come from the revenue collected for 2008.

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The onus for finding the grants falls on Executive Director Shelly Flannery.

Flannery told the MCTA Board of Directors, Moffat County commissioners Tom Mathers and Saed Tayyara and museum director Dan Davidson that grants were on the way – grants and donations from seven different groups that could total $60,000 to $70,000.

The money would be put to good use, Flannery said.

The museum is looking to hire another full-time staff person and find a new location for the billboard it used to have on West Victory Way where the Wal-Mart SuperCenter is currently located.

Those grants could be available in November, and most likely by year’s end, Flannery said.

The groups Flannery contacted provide “rolling grants,” she said. That means the overseeing bodies examine potential recipients on a more regular basis, instead of having a deadline once a year.

Mathers expressed concern grants had not been found before now.

“The grants should have been sought after earlier,” Mathers said. “It’s like a house you’re paying rent on. You don’t just realize you have to come up with the money when it’s due. I just hope in the future they get a grant before payday.”

Grant writing is a lengthy process that has been made longer by circumstances beyond anyone’s control, Flannery said.

For one, neither MCTA nor the museum are appropriate grant recipients because they are government-funded, Flannery said. She has spent time trying to find an appropriate “pass-through” agency, a nonprofit that can receive the money and earmark it for the museum.

At least one possible pass-through group has been contacted and appears favorable to the idea.

Also, the museum did not provide the access it promised MCTA until a month or so after Flannery took residence there, Davidson said. Until then, Flannery could only access her office through the front door during regular business hours and not on nights or weekends.

Flannery is optimistic the grants will come through, though she cautioned it’s difficult to know the heart of boards.

“You always feel confident when you send out a grant application because you’re passionate about the cause,” Flannery said. “But (the grants) are always subject to what the focus of the (granting) agency is.”

Collin Smith can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 209, or cesmith@craigdailypress.com