What if Wisconsin's Sporting Heritage grant had not been rescinded by Gov. Walker?
By now most sportsmen know that Gov. Scott Walker canceled the $500,000 Sporting Heritage Grant that DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp had awarded to the only grant applicant – the United Sportsmen of Wisconsin Foundation (USWF).
But, what if the governor had not rescinded the grant? How much mentoring would the state have received for its $500,000?
The USWF was required to submit a budget as part of the application process. That budget, revised on Aug. 13, included salaries of $170,000 in 2013-14 and $200,000 in 2014-15. The budget summary does not specify how many employees that money will cover. USWF estimates it will receive $20,000 to $25,000 in donated labor from dog training, archery, shooting, fishing, trapping, and range mentors for 20 different events.
Consultant services in public relations, fundraising, social media outreach, writing and research and web site set up is $28,000 the first year and $38,000 the second year.
Purchase of guns, bows, traps, and fishing equipment is estimated at $9,400 the first year and $14,100 the second year.
Other expenses include books, computers, office space is $$29,000 the first year and $39,000 the second year.
The total estimated cost by USWF is $279,800 the first year and $346,500 the second year, or a total over two years of $526,300.
Sporting Heritage grant
Many sportsmen are still wondering how the grant came about. It was inserted into the 2013-15 state budget signed by Walker this past summer. The new law says that the DNR “shall” – meaning it has to – give one grant in each fiscal biennium to a nonprofit group to provide education to hunters, fishermen and trappers, and to establish and operate programs to recruit people into hunting, fishing and trapping.
The DNR would have provided a grant of $200,000 in fiscal year 2013-14 and the remaining $300,000 in 2014-15.
During the fiscal year 2015-17, and each fiscal biennium thereafter, the DNR would provide a grant of $450,000.
To be eligible for this grant an organization must:
• Have a principal place of business in the state;
• Have a relationship with a nationally recognized group that provides proven and successful firearm safety education and is able to host shooting events;
• Teaches courses on firearms safety, shooting skills and outdoor education using a nationally recognized outdoor curriculum;
• Has a relationship with a nationally recognized outdoor expert;
• Is able to provide mentors for new hunters by recruiting volunteers and has a database of volunteers;
• Is not an affiliate of a national organization;
• Is able to ensure the maintenance or improvement of the state’s position among all the states in terms of outdoor sporting heritage
• Beginning with grants awarded from 2015-17, it contributes $150,000 in funds with a grant awarded from this grant.
For this first round of grants for the 2013-15 fiscal years, the non-profit group could receive a grant only if it submitted a grant request within 30 days of the law going into effect, meaning that if the budget went into effect July 1, the application was due July 30. The DNR did post the fact that the grant existed on its web site, but neither the DNR nor the Department of Administration issued a press release to the public.
The Sporting Heritage Committee that reviewed, and acted on, the grant application includes three members appointed by the chair of the Sporting Heritage Council. The chairman is Scott Gunderson, the DNR’s executive assistant. The remaining committee members are Mar LaBarbera, an outdoors writer and TV producer, Bill Torhorst, of Oregon, Rep. Al Ott, R-Forest Junction, chair of the Assembly Natural Resources committee, and Neal Kedzie, R-Elkhorn, chair of the Senate Natural Resources Committee.