City of Roseville to review Citizens Benefit Fund

Grant program last reviewed 19 years ago
By: Sena Christian, Staff Reporter
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Citizens Benefit Fund applicants sought

Application workshop: 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 8, in Council Chambers, Civic Hall, 311 Vernon St.

Application deadline: 5 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 6

For the application, visit

For more information, call Roseville Grants Advisory Commission Secretary Kelly Wickline at (916) 746-1350 or Liaison Nela Luken at (916) 774-5281.


The city of Roseville typically distributes about $500,000 to local nonprofit organizations each year through its Citizens Benefit Fund.

But money available for these grants is shrinking, as federal interest rates have dropped from roughly 3 percent to around 0.25 percent.

The amount for the 2013-14 funding cycle (see sidebar) is an estimated $392,000, and the city is re-evaluating how to make the most of this pot of money in the future.

The Roseville City Council unanimously approved plans for a comprehensive review of the Citizens Benefit Fund during the Dec. 19 meeting — an action last done 19 years ago, said Nela Luken, who serves as the city’s liaison to the Roseville Grants Advisory Commission.

The fund developed in 1993 with proceeds from the sale of the Roseville Community Hospital, when $14.8 million was placed in a trust. The city also received a $600,000 donation to the fund in 2005. The majority of interest earnings, at 90 percent, is given back to the community via grants to nonprofits that serve residents of south Placer County.

Several years ago, the Grants Advisory Commission implemented an approach to stabilize the total annual grant awards at about $500,000 by saving some interest earnings in good years to supplement leaner years.

“We are just not going to be able to sustain that,” said the city’s Assistant Finance Director Monty Hanks, during the council meeting.

At its September meeting, the commission suggested a comprehensive review to evaluate the efficiency and effectiveness of the grants process. A three-member subcommittee will form to make recommendations to the commission, which oversees the competitive grant process. The City Council has the final approval on disbursement of grant funds.

Councilwoman Bonnie Gore, who previously served on the commission, expressed her disappointment with the decreasing fund.

“I think it’s important to look at a strategy and how to move forward,” Gore said. “Because there are so many needs and it doesn’t do a lot of groups a lot of good if you can only give $5,000 here and $4,000 here.”