Orem has announced applications are now open for CARE Tax grants to help nonprofit arts and recreation groups with funding projects.

The applications process closes on April 2. In the meantime, the city is still doing some forecasting to determine how much money will be available to allocate to the 501©3 foundations.

The city council will make its final approval of those CARE Tax grants in June, according to Steven Downs, program manager.

The 2020 CARE Tax applications were distributed but with fewer requests than in 2019. It was the start of the COVID-19 shutdown and the city did not know what sales tax revenues would look like.

To the surprise of the city financiers, sales taxes held their own and in fact increased during 2020.

“The CARE Taxes are healthy,” Downs said. “Many of the groups took less than normal last year because they didn’t hold events.”

Downs anticipates those requests will come back again as most of the venues have announced they are returning.

Since November 2005, Orem residents have paid an additional .01% sales tax, called CARE (representing culture, arts, recreation and education). Money collected from the tax helps forward the arts and recreation in the city.

The total amount allotted for 2019 grants was $2,533,085. The amount represents $2.3 million in revenues with $233,085 in unused CARE tax from previous years that was to be reallocated.

It is anticipated the 2021 grants will have about the same or a little bit more to work with.

“Most groups are based here (in Orem) but they are funded for what they do here,” Downs said.

Seventeen mini- and mid-grants and three large grants were for non-profit arts and culture groups.

The number of mini- and mid-grants have increased over the past three years.

A group of volunteer residents make up the Care Tax Advisory Commission, with assistance from the city council.

According to Downs, the citizens’ commission evaluates and hears presentations from the groups before deliberating on application requests to determine how to best help nonprofit groups and use city money wisely.

Large grants are divided between three groups: The SCERA Center for the Arts, the Hale Center Foundation for the Arts and the Utah Metropolitan Ballet. Those grants have ranged from $20,000 to up to $600,000.

Mini-grants are for up to $4,999 and mid-range grants are gifted up to $9,999.

Both the Orem Fitness Center upgrade and the new Orem Library Hall auditorium are recipients of CARE Tax grants as well.

The administration holds out about $30,000 to run the program.

Daily Herald reporter Genelle Pugmire can be contacted at gpugmire@heraldextra.com, (801) 344-2910, Twitter

@gpugmire

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