After eight wonderful and rewarding years at CREDI, the board has eliminated the position of executive director due to a lack of funding. I will be, for the present time, offering my professional services to statewide counties, cities and nonprofit organizations on an individual basis.
As many of you are aware, a serious decline in contributions to nonprofits has occurred and this is especially true of CREDI over the past three years. September 11, 2001, and the continued state of the economy are just two of the reasons for the decline in funding and donations have not been received from some of those companies which have directly benefited from the organization's services in the past. Some of the funders, who have supported the organization in the past, typically foundations, local and regional businesses and individuals have also eliminated project and program funding. In our specific area, the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Agency all but eliminated their program and project support over the past two years.
In CREDI's case, the dollars from the county and the city of Crosby are extremely critical. Their contributions are requested as a one-time payment in January of each year, so CREDI's projects and programming can be planned for the year. CREDI received the County's $20,000 appropriation on Jan. 31. However, Crosby has yet to release its $14,000 annual donation, approved in 2002. As with any nonprofit, decisions to delay donations by funders typically add to difficulties, especially when planning, programming and operations have been previously set for the year based on earlier approvals by funders.
The CREDI Board was given a listing of eight important, if not critical projects to the entire area on December 27, 2002. These projects represent over $2.7 million in grants for Ironton and Crosby projects. They include the proposed Technology Center, several ongoing and annual projects and of course a major Small Cities Program for the city of Crosby, which would allow for $1.6 to $1.8 million in grants to the city for housing, economic development and public facility improvements. Unfortunately, some of these programs require applications by deadline dates. The first deadline coming up is Feb. 15, yet no action has been able to move that element forward. A second deadline will be between March 1 and March 15 regarding the $150,000 grant from the state for the Technology Center. This grant was approved in the 2001 Legislature, only to be unalloted in the fall of 2001 due to the state's economic condition. After many meetings with the Legislature in the 2002 Session, the dollars were once again approved and were indeed encumbered for the project as of Jan. 6, 2003.
Word from our legislators is that if the dollars are not accessed by March 1-15, the governor could once again unallot and the grant could be in jeopardy once again. If the dollars are not used by June 20, 2002, the termination date for the grant, you can be assured the Legislature will not approve the grant for a third time and most assuredly, dollars for these types of projects will not be available for several years to come. This news is not new to the reporting entities and to many of you who have followed the CREDI newspaper column in the C-I Courier and on the CREDI Web Site; but for some of you it may shed some light on what has happened over the past two years.
Many of these projects are intertwined and hold within them, I believe, a road map to long-term economic and community improvements. But, it does take a collaborative effort by all governmental leadership to make it happen. If you would like more information on the projects please call me at 820-8617 or you may view these projects on www.ecdc.us Web site and click on the "Cuyuna Range Pending Projects For 2003" link.
I have learned much and made many friends during my time at CREDI. To each of you, I thank you for your support to CREDI, your commitment to the organization's goals and mission and not least, for your friendship over the years. I hope we will remain in contact.
(Miller stepped down effective Jan. 1, as executive director of Cuyuna Range Economic De-velopment Inc.)
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