Donations for Considerations

Three hundred million dollars worth of contracts go up for bid each year in Tallahassee. It's a lot of business up for grabs, and if a new ordinance is approved next month, companies going after that business may have a way to influence commissioners’ votes: donate to local charity.

Allan Katz, Tallahassee city commissioner, said, "We're saying, in effect, this is a value, this is something we think is important, and the city, the government cannot meet all the needs, and we're looking towards those people in the private sector, particularly those that want to do business with the city, to participate in that."

Under the proposed ordinance, companies would have 92 organizations to choose from, and then decide whether to make a monetary or in-kind donation, including volunteering.

Katz added, "It's probably not going to be determinative of the outcome, although it can influence the outcome."

Commissioner Katz and Commissioner Andrew Gillum helped push for the proposal and are hoping the ordinance will inspire larger national companies to invest in the local community.

Buddy Streit, President of Boys and Girls Club of the Big Bend, said, "We really need as many resources as we can to direct our customers, our clients, and this just opens up a whole area inspiring people to get involved."

A public hearing is scheduled for next month. If approved, the ordinance could go into effect at the beginning of the fiscal year, October 1.