ECGRA Invests $171,014 in 285 Festivals, Parades, Competitions, Performances & Programs
At a regularly scheduled board meeting this morning, the Erie County Gaming Revenue Authority board of directors unanimously voted to invest local share gaming revenue in 285 of Erie County’s favorite festivals, parades, competitions, performances, programs, and conferences. At a 10:00 a.m. press conference at the Erie Playhouse, 13 West 10th Street, Erie, board members and ECGRA Executive Director Perry Wood granted a total of $171,014 to representatives from the 42 funded nonprofit organizations (see attached for full list of grantees).
ECGRA Executive Director said, “This investment is bittersweet. While we are hopeful that Erie County’s share of gaming revenue will be made whole and that we can maintain local control, there are no guarantees. We celebrate with our grantees this morning and this afternoon, get back to work alongside county officials protecting Erie’s $11 million per year.”
In September 2016, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court declared that the current local share gaming clause in the state’s gaming legislation is worded in a manner that is unconstitutional and gave lawmakers four months to determine a resolution. In October, the Pennsylvania Senate presented a gambling bill that included a $10 million fee to be paid by casinos to their host community. That bill was changed by the Pennsylvania House of Representatives to include expansions in legalized gambling and also redefine new forms of gaming revenue as funds to be used by the state’s economic development bureaucracy rather than by local economic development agencies, such as ECGRA. Pennsylvania Senate leaders then requested and were granted four additional months to make the fix. They now have until May 26 to agree—that’s 120 more days for the people and organizations that have come to depend on local share gaming revenue to await a decision regarding their future.
Since 2009, ECGRA has invested $44 million in 203 community and cultural assets, entrepreneurs, job training and educational institutions, and neighborhoods and municipalities. Those investments have had more than an $87.2 million economic impact in Erie County. Unless rectified, the ruling would effectively kill the stream through which ECGRA and its counterparts across the state invest gaming revenue and, according to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, cost municipalities and counties statewide more than $140 million each year.
ECGRA’s recently released economic impact study—the first of its kind—details how ECGRA’s investments of local share gaming revenue since March 2009 have bolstered the local economy and demonstrates the funding crater that will be left if Erie County is not made whole or does not maintain control of its share. Read the full report here: http://www.ecgra.org/impactstudy and learn how you can help #SaveGamingRevenue here: http://www.ecgra.org/calltoaction.
# # #
An impact investor, ECGRA’s mission is to galvanize the nonprofit sector toward economic and community development and to elevate Erie County, Pa. Since February 2008, ECGRA has invested more than $44 million in Erie County thanks to the innovative leadership of members of the ECGRA Board of Directors and staff, and Erie County Council. Learn how ECGRA Grant Money Works when you visit ECGRA.org or call 814-897-2690.
ECGRA MEDIA CONTACT: Amanda Burlingham, 814-504-3037, firstname.lastname@example.org