The Transforming Safety grant program made its initial grants to community partners in both North Aurora and Southeast Colorado Springs in May and October 2018. In order to give these grantees the opportunity to develop and document their outcomes, most of these grantees then received a second round of funding in May and October 2019. This second round of funding completed the expenditure of the grant funds allocated in the original 2017 legislation. The legislature extended the pilot program for an additional three years in the 2019 legislative session, with the new funding to become available at the start of the new State fiscal year in July 2020.
Unfortunately, as part of the more than $3 billion in COVID-19 related cuts that the legislature made to the State budget during the 2020 session, the Transforming Safety grant fund was slashed by $1 million. The grant team decided to consolidate the two annual rounds of funding into one round, which would be released as soon as possible after the start of the State fiscal year on July 1st. The community grant review teams in both communities met in late July 2020 to make some very difficult decisions about how to allocate the reduced funds. Ultimately the teams recommended to the State that the number of grantees be reduced from 44 to 21. The number of grantees in North Aurora went from 23 to 13, and in Southeast Colorado Springs the number went from 21 to 7. Initial indications are that the State budget will be cut again in 2021-22, but the Transforming Safety team will be working closely with the legislature and the Department of Local Affairs to limit further cuts to Transforming safety, and to advocate for restoration of the funds that were cut.
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The Local Planning Teams in both North Aurora and Southeast Colorado Springs have worked diligently to determine grant priorities for their communities, and to set the geographic boundaries within which eligible grant applicants must provide services. They concluded their work in late February, 2018. The foundations have turned these priorities into grant guidelines and developed an application process. A grant selection committee comprised of people from the foundation and the local community will review and make recommendations regarding which grants should be approved. The final decisions on grant awards will be made by the Department of Local Affairs and the Governor’s Office of State Planning and Budgeting. Successful applicants can only receive one grant in a 12-month period.