Redwood Foundation gets another hearing on ARP funding

May 10—ANDERSON — The Redwood Foundation has been granted another opportunity to appeal a denial of American Rescue Plan funding.

On May 2, the Anderson City Council voted 8-0 to deny the appeal filed by the Redwood Foundation for $62,000 for its Cure Violence Prevention Program.

At that meeting, no one was present to represent the Redwood Foundation, and Councilman Ollie H. Dixon was not in attendance.

The May 2 meeting was properly advertised, and the only item on the agenda was the appeal.

The council on Thursday decided to conduct another appeal hearing on May 23 at 6 p.m. because the Redwood Foundation was not notified of the prior meeting.

"I had no clue," Larry McClendon, president of the Redwood Foundation, said Friday of the prior meeting.

"There was no notification," he said. "The council was supposed to notify (us) of the appeal hearing. I knew there was a hearing but didn't know it was set."

The Redwood Foundation originally requested a grant of $246,000 for the program and was granted $62,000.

The $62,000 award was terminated on April 5; the Redwood Foundation appealed the decision of the city's Not-For Profit Committee.

The denial letter said the committee received additional information from Madison County Prosecutor Rodney Cummings.

"The grant committee considered the updated information provided by the Madison County Prosecutor and the Anderson Police Department, including a copy of a probable cause affidavit, and a copy of the filed formal charges, during the pre-award period," the denial letter stated.

The information included a search warrant served on the residence of a Redwood Foundation board member, which included the discovery of a handgun magazine and drugs.

"It is the consensus of the committee that this trust and confidence was severely harmed," the letter continued. "As a result, funding for the project previously identified for a potential award would not be in the best interests of the local and federal government."

In its appeal letter, the Redwood Foundation said the denial letter didn't state a basis on which it would not provide the goals and objectives of the grant request.

The search warrant was related to the arrest of Donavan Harris, who is awaiting trial on charges of murder, attempted armed robbery, dealing in narcotics and criminal confinement.

Harris is charged with the November 2023 shooting death of Julian Craig.

He is the son of Donita Thompson, a board member of the Redwood Foundation.

Follow Ken de la Bastide on Twitter @KendelaBastide, or call 765-640-4863.