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How Twin Falls is putting a Blue Cross Foundation Community Grant into action

Posted at 7:38 PM, Jan 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-22 09:10:30-05

TWIN FALLS, Idaho — The Blue Cross Foundation awarded the city of Twin Falls a $250,000 Community Grant back in June 2019. City officials took the next year to decide how to use the funding, ultimately deciding to put it towards fitness programs and access to nutritious foods for local youth.

Last September, the city accepted proposals from local organizations looking to make their dreams a reality. While the city wanted to take time to decide how to best use the funds, progress has been a little slower than expected.

Multiple partners, including the city of Twin Falls, the Twin Falls School District, College of Southern Idaho, and St. Luke's, make up the Community Transformation Grant Impact Team. The group has connected with applicants, but no plans have been finalized.

"We haven't decided who of the applicants will be funded and specifically which programs we're going to fund. Again, we're kind of modifying the proposals in our conversations with them. Once those get finalized, then we'll have specific grant agreements, and benchmarks, and all of those things," says Shawn Barigar, Twin Falls Chamber of Commerce President.

Grant Impact Team partners say they've been slowed by outside responsibilities, including the holiday season, COVID-19, and an inconsistent meeting schedule.

The actual process for using the grant has also been an issue.

"This grant process has been a little backward from typical grants. Usually, you would submit a specific proposal, and the granting entity would decide if they were going to fund it. This really was more of a process where, 'hey, we're going to give you the money, but you need to create the programs,'" said Barigar.

Six applications have been submitted to the Impact Team, and some proposals are still being modified. The Team is hoping to meet again soon to determine who gets the money, and how the programs will work.

"In the next couple of weeks, we'll actually have a chance to touch base with all the applicants and get through some of that discussion," Barigar said. "Hopefully, by the first of February, we'll be through those conversations. We'll bring the impact team back together and make those final decisions on funding."