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Seventeen Chaffee County nonprofit organizations and public sector entities were awarded a total of $245,550 through the Chaffee County Marijuana Excise Tax Advisory Board (METAB) 2022 competitive grant cycle. This grant funding helps bolster programs and projects across the county that align with community priority focus areas of human services and youth programs, public health (including mental health), workforce housing, and the regulation of marijuana and other drugs.

Third Annual METAB Grant Recipients (2020) wait to share what they are doing with the money awarded to their organizations (Photo by Taylor Sumners)

The METAB-advised grants are funded through an excise tax levied on the first sale or transfer of unprocessed retail marijuana in the County. The ballot referendum authorizing the excise tax was approved by Chaffee County voters in 2016 and became effective in January 2017.

As Chaffee County announces this round of grant awards, it is important to point out that the county’s marijuana excise tax revenues were down almost 40 percent in Q4 2021-Q3 2022 compared to the prior 12 months, meaning the METAB had substantially less funding to offer in this year’s grant cycle than last year.

In order to help create simpler opportunities to access support and more widely distribute the limited funds, the METAB introduced a new mini-grant program in 2022 for requests with budgets of $5,000 or less. The mini-grant program proved popular for applicants, with 24 percent of the proposals received seeking smaller-scale support.

The Chaffee County Board of County Commissioners unanimously approved the METAB’s 2022 grant recommendations at their December 6 regular meeting. Grant awards spanned the mission areas allowable within the grant-making program, including:

Workforce and Family Housing ($61,000; 25 percent of total grants)

Chaffee County Habitat for Humanity – Spartan Heights Build – $20,000
Chaffee County Hospitality Inc. for Family Emergency Housing – $16,000
Chaffee County Human Services’ Family Stability Program – $20,000
Chaffee Housing Trust for Capacity Building – $5,000

Youth-Focused Programs ($102,000; 42 percent of total grants)

Boys and Girls Club of Chaffee County for Youth Programs – $20,000
Boys and Girls Club of Chaffee County for Junior Workforce Training – $5,000
elevateHER for Youth Outdoor Programs – $20,000
elevateHER for Mentorship and Workforce Development for Youth – $5,000
Family and Youth Initiatives for Chaffee County Mentor Program – $20,000
GARNA for Mobile Gear Library Youth Program – $20,000
Guidestone for Youth Career Pathways in Agriculture Education – $11,000
Salida Sunrise Rotary for Dolly Parton Imagination Library – $1,000

Human Services ($62,550; 25 percent of total grants)

Achieve, Inc. for 2023 Neurodivergent Employment Program – $20,000
The Alliance for Domestic and Sexual Violence Prevention Services – $20,000
Chaffee Shuttle Neighbor-to-Neighbor Matching Funds Project – $10,050
Full Circle Restorative Justice for Program Operations – $12,500

Public Health (including Mental Health) ($20,000; 8 percent of total grants)

Chaffee County Public Health for Aging Well Program – $20,000
Programs supporting the regulation of marijuana and enforcement of drug laws are also eligible for METAB grant funding, but no applications were received for this category.

METAB Formation

The Marijuana Excise Tax Advisory Board (METAB) was established following Chaffee County voters’ approval of a marijuana excise tax in November 2016 and was then ratified in August 2017 by the County Commissioners via Chaffee Resolution 2017-46. The County Commissioners appointed a seven-member board to guide the excise tax-funded grant program, supporting the Chaffee County community through initiatives focused on human services (including youth services); public health (including mental health); workforce and family housing; and the regulation of marijuana and other drugs.

The all-volunteer seven-member board is charged with evaluating the grant applications each year and providing funding recommendations to the Board of County Commissioners (BoCC). Over the past six years, the METAB grants program has distributed $1,226,127 to local nonprofit organizations and public programs. METAB’s next grant cycle will open in late summer 2023.

More information on METAB is available at https://www.chaffeecounty.org/Board—METAB.