SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – This week, the Greene County Commission announced the disbursement of ARPA funds to six non-profit organizations.
One non-profit that applied but learned they wouldn’t receive any money is the GLO Center.
Dr. Kyler Sherman-Wilkins, the LGBTQIA+ resource center’s president says he was upset when he learned about the denial.
“[It’ll] be a challenge for us to be able to retain any of our services,” Sherman-Wilkins said.
However, Sherman-Wilkins tells KOLR10, the rejection wasn’t because of any paperwork error or just missing out on funds.
He says it surrounds one of the center’s programs, one called Rainbow Kids.
“I think we realized that it was it had something to do with the rhetoric that’s going around about the young children being indoctrinated into the LGBTQ community or being groomed.” Sherman-Wilkins said.
Rainbow kids is a program providing an inclusive environment for children ages 5-11 who may identify with the LGBTQIA+ community.
No children can be in the group without a parent’s approval.
“We’re in a culture war, and this is a continuation of the culture war that I think is being heightened given how politically divided we are,” Sherman-Wilkins said.
KOLR10 talked to Dr. Lyle Foster, who is part of the ARPA program team with Greene County who says this most recent round was helping non-profits only.
“One of the things which has been almost overwhelming is really the full range of the impact of the pandemic in our community,” Dr. Foster said. “I’ve always kind of appreciated all nonprofits, but you do really get to see, I think, a different perspective in terms of how valuable the work of our nonprofit communities is.”
Sherman-Wilkins pointed out that a majority of the organizations approved for ARPA money are groups based in faith.
“I think that if we weren’t an LGBTQ+ serving institution if we’re just serving youth in general, we would gotten the funding,” Sherman-Wilkins said.
A statement on these dispersed funds from the commission says in part, “We have south to appropriate those funds with card, deliberation, and input from the Citizen Advisory council in a way that addresses as many pressing needs as possible.”
That aforementioned Citizen Advisory Council is the same council that recommended the GLO Center’s approval, only to be shut down by two-thirds of the county commissioners.
“It’s a special type of hurt to know that it was reviewed by people who were tasked with approving these dollars and then it be effectively blocked by two of the three commissioners,” Sherman-Wilkins said.