February 9, 2016

SG Community Service Fund Allocates Only 75 Percent of its Funding

Last year, the Community Service Fund (CSF), a funding organization led by Student Government (SG) and the University Community Service Center (UCSC), utilized only 75 percent of its funding. The CSF seeks to endow Registered Student Organizations (RSOs) with capital for on- and off-campus service initiatives.

Although 40 different proposals were submitted to the CSF last year, most did not meet the CSF requirements and funding requests were almost double the allotted budget. The Student Government Funding Code states that the CSF may not allocate any funds that would cause a deficit in the Student Activities Fee.

“Last year we utilized about 75 percent of our funding, but this year we’re on track to allocate over 90 percent, if not 100 percent of our funds,” CSF Chair and second-year undergraduate student Akanksha Shah said. “The amount of funding utilized is dependent on a lot of things: how many proposals are submitted, the amount requested for each proposal, and how much the committee chooses to spend during Annual Allocations.”

According to Shah, SG allocates an annual budget of $79,500 to the CSF. The CSF committee then allots the given funding six times a year—during third and seventh weeks of autumn and winter quarters, during the third week of spring quarter, and during the Annual Allocation at the end of spring quarter.

“Any unused allocated funds would be rolled over to use for operations the following year,” SG Chief of Finance and first-year graduate student Cesar Dominguez said.

Title IV of the Student Government Funding Code mandates that the CSF may only fund community service initiatives if over 50 percent of its beneficiaries are from outside of the University. This rule can only be waived in special circumstances in which the project constitutes a reasonable value to the community. Additionally, all RSOs must contribute at least 10 percent of the proposal’s cost through fundraising or sponsorship efforts.

“We fund a wide range of community service initiatives, ranging from funds for tutoring supplies, to spring break service trips, to mentoring events. We will fund all kinds of service, so long as the majority of people benefiting are from the community,” Shah said.

Funding applications are open to both undergraduate and graduate RSOs, with undergraduate students submitting proposals for over half of the funded projects. To apply, groups fill out a proposal that requires a detailed line-item budget, information about the project, a target demographic, and financial information about the RSO. The RSO adviser then reviews the proposal and a club representative is sent to answer questions about the proposal at the CSF meeting. Finally, the CSF informs the Student Government Assembly of its decision and the Assembly approves the funding request. In the past, the CSF has funded spring break trips for University law students to assist public defenders, materials for students to be able to tutor in clean rooms in hospitals, and events for local middle schools.

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