The Journal Gazette
Thursday, March 11, 2021 1:00 am

Questa Legacy Fund request denied

Proposal for operational, not capital, expenses

DAVE GONG | The Journal Gazette

The Fort Wayne Legacy Joint Funding Committee will not entertain another request from the Questa Education Foundation.

During the committee's first meeting since November 2019, members Wednesday voted 8-0 against considering a $600,000 request from the nonprofit to support its Legacy Scholars Program.

Questa requested $800,000 from the Legacy Fund in November 2019, but the committee denied the organization's application. The Fort Wayne City Council later granted Questa $200,000 to keep the program running for another year. 

Questa was awarded $800,000 from the Legacy Fund in 2014, before the City Council implemented guidelines designed to more narrowly focus grant eligibility.

The Legacy Fund consists of money generated by the lease and sale of Fort Wayne's old power utility. According to a financial report on the city's website, as of Dec. 31, 2020, the fund contained $19,911,323. The Legacy Joint Funding Committee oversees funding requests, reviewing applications and, if appropriate, recommending them for City Council and mayoral approval.

No one doubts the value of Questa's scholarship programs, Committee President Ron Turpin said, but under the committee's existing guidelines, the Legacy Fund is to be used mainly for capital costs. Questa's proposal, he said, falls under operational expenses. 

The proposal was denied early in the process, before the nonprofit could submit a concept letter. Deciding not to consider the proposal as a concept letter, Turpin said, saves Questa and city staff time and effort crafting a submission that the committee had already decided against.

In other business, the Legacy Joint Funding Committee welcomed several new members and reelected Turpin as the body's president.

In addition to Turpin, the current committee members are City Attorney Carol Helton; City Councilman Paul Ensley, R-1st; Councilman Russ Jehl, R-2nd; City Councilwoman Sharon Tucker, D-6th; City Controller Garry Morr; Stephanie Crandall, director of intergovernmental affairs; and Faye Williams-Robbins, chief officer of student, family and community engagement for Fort Wayne Community Schools.

Melissa Rinehart, executive director of Wellspring Interfaith Social Services, was selected as the committee's final member. She will begin her duties in May.

Sign up for our daily headlines newsletter

Top headlines are sent daily