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Walllingford councilor questions process for funding non-profits

WALLINGFORD — Town Councilor Craig Fishbein is questioning why Master’s Manna is receiving funding through a different, more streamlined process than other organizations who seek town funding.

Cheryl Trzcinski, executive director of Master’s Manna, submits data on clients served to Mayor William W. Dickinson’s office quarterly. After doing so, Trzcinski receives a check for her organization.

Rich Figlewski, owner of The Dry Dock, has to apply through the community grant program at the town’s Youth & Social Services to receive funding.

The money Master’s Manna receives is included in the mayor’s budget, and is available to Trzcinski each time she sends the data. For Figlewski and other organizations, funding from the town is not always guaranteed.

Last year, Master’s Manna, a nonprofit organization that serves the homeless and low to moderate income families, received $21,000 from the town, according to Fishbein. The Dry Dock was also made a part of the Youth and Social Services Department’s budget when the council decided to earmark $10,000 for Figlewski to use, he added.

“My question was how come we don’t handle Master’s Manna the same way?” Fishbein said. “We just give them a check and say, ‘Good luck,’ and they’re on their way.”

Dickinson said Master’s Manna is a “very different kind of program,” offering different services to individuals, such as food, clothing and transportation.

Figlewski said he doesn’t have a problem with the current process, adding he doesn’t believe it’s “unfair by any means.”

“I’m fine with the way it is,” Figlewski said.

Figlewski said he didn’t think Master’s Manna going through the same process would be beneficial.

“The scope of what they’re doing is much larger and much different than here,” Figlewski said. “There are specific things we’re doing in a specific area and we’re doing very specific things for the town. I think the scope of what we do is a little bit smaller and a little bit more streamlined in terms of what Cheryl does.”

Fishbein said he is raising the issue “to make sure there is oversight” to ensure the services provided to the community are necessary.

Master’s Manna has been receiving a check since 2010, when the council voted to do so, Fishbein said. He voted against the motion.

“I always ... want to see their budget and what the money is used for and what the impact will be if the entity doesn’t get that money,” he said. “I don’t think the representations that were made satisfied me.”

Master’s Manna was added to the town budget, Turner said, “primarily because in essence they were seen as replacing the Red Cross delivery of services, which shut down.” When the local Red Cross branch closed in 2009, Master’s Manna took over its food pantry and transportation services.

Trzcinski said her organization serves about 13,000 people.

“It probably surpasses a lot of the other agencies and groups in Wallingford,” Trzcinski said. “We serve them on a weekly and monthly basis.” (203) 317-2235 Twitter: @EricVoRJ

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