Gaming Commission distributes $2.24 million

94 applications from 86 charitable groups were selected to get funding

94 applications from 86 charitable groups were selected to get funding

August 04, 2009|By HEATHER KEELS

o Click here or download the PDF file at right to see the full list of Gaming Commission distributions

o Recipients grateful for Gaming Commission funds

WASHINGTON COUNTY -- This year's distribution of tip-jar gaming proceeds will allow the Community Free Clinic to continue accepting new patients, the Boys & Girls Club of Washington County to transport its participants and the Western Maryland Hospital Center Auxiliary to purchase a desperately needed dialysis machine, leaders of those organizations said Tuesday.

Their funding requests were among a total of 94 applications from 86 local charitable organizations selected to receive funding from the last fiscal year's tip-jar gaming proceeds, the Washington County Gaming Commission said Tuesday.

The commission distributed a total of $2.24 million collected in the county through tip-jar gaming in fiscal year 2009, which ended June 30.


Under state and county law, half of the funding, or about $1.1 million, goes to the Washington County Volunteer Fire & Rescue Association. The rest is divided among local nonprofit groups that applied for the money for specific projects.

This year, the gaming commission received 121 separate applications from 104 charitable organizations requesting a total of $2.6 million.

The commission was able to fully fund 22 of those application requests and partially fund 72 of them, gaming commission chairwoman Judith Ferro said.

The largest award went to the Community Free Clinic, which received $175,000 to support its free medical services for uninsured patients.

The clinic's executive director, Robin E. Roberson, thanked the commission for the funding.

"This has been by far our most challenging year," Roberson said.

The clinic saw a drastic increase in the number of people seeking care and was on the verge of having to turn away new patients.

"I cannot express enough how vital this funding is, and how much our staff, our volunteers, our board of directors, but most of all our patients, appreciate your recognition of the importance of the work that the Community Free Clinic does in the county," Roberson said.

The second-largest award went to REACH Caregivers, which received $100,000.

REACH, which runs a cold-weather homeless shelter and provides services to seniors and others in need, is seeing a 194 percent increase in people coming through its doors, Executive Director Jodie Stock said.

Glenn Fishack, president of the Washington County Volunteer Fire and Rescue Association, said the county's 27 volunteer companies appreciate and rely heavily on the tip-jar funds.

"Without these funds, I guess we would have a fire tax," Fishack said.

Representatives from more than a dozen other organizations receiving funding also attended the Washington County Commissioners' meeting Tuesday to thank the gaming commission and explain how their organizations benefit the community.

Vicki Sadehvandi, executive director of Citizens Assisting and Sheltering the Abused (CASA), said her organization's $10,499 award would be used "to help us treat the abusers that are in our community that create such a rippling effect on families."

The seven-member gaming commission board decided on the award amounts after one day of workshops in June and two days of public hearings in July, Ferro said.

"The gaming commission's decision not to fund a request or to partially fund a request is not a poor reflection on the organization," she said.

When reviewing applications, the commission considers factors such as an organization's cost per client or person served, its past ability to get results with the funds it received and its efforts to support itself with its own fundraising efforts, Ferro said.

Gaming Commission

The Washington County Gaming Commission is a volunteer seven-member board appointed by the Washington County Delegation to the Maryland General Assembly and the Washington County Commissioners.

Established by the State Legislature in 1995, the commission is responsible for ensuring equitable distribution of revenue from tip jars played in the county's clubs, taverns, liquor stores and restaurants.

Its members are:

Judith Ferro, chairwoman

Donna Long, vice-chairwoman

R. Wayne Taylor

Walter Bell

Mike Hansen

Dan Seiler

Larry Kessler

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