FREEHOLD, NJ – Commissioner Director Thomas A. Arnone and Commissioner Deputy Director Susan M. Kiley issued the following joint statement in response to a letter received from Fulfill President and CEO Kim Guadagno requesting CARES Act grant money:
“On Wednesday, March 17 at 1 p.m., we received an email from a media reporter requesting comment on a letter addressed to the Monmouth County Board of County Commissioners from the President and CEO of Fulfill, which was requesting a grant of $725,000 from the American Rescue Plan funding that Monmouth County is anticipated to receive in the next several months.
We would like to make a few things very clear. First, the County Commissioners did not receive the certified letter from Fulfill until Monday, March 22. The first time the Board was made aware of the letter was through an email from the media.
The second, and most important, point we would like to clarify is that the Monmouth County Board of County Commissioners takes food insecurity very seriously. We have held annual food drives in support of Fulfill and have worked through the County’s Division of Social Services and Monmouth ACTS to assist all of our residents who need food, financial or housing assistance.
We believe that we need to do all that we can to assist our underserved residents and we appreciate the work that Fulfill is doing towards that end. However, we also believe that there needs to be policies and procedures in place when it comes to distributing federal grant dollars.
Monmouth County publicly shared the protocol for non-profits and small businesses to apply for CARES Act grants. We hired an outside firm to administer the application process and determine which businesses met the criteria. One of the criteria for businesses was that they had to have less than 50 employees and less than $5 million in annual revenue. Applications were accepted from August 3 through December 23, 2020.
After thorough review, we found that Fulfill did not submit an application for the first round of CARES Act grant funding. Not only was there no application, there was no letter or formal request for grant funding ever sent to the Board of County Commissioners for review.
Commissioner Director Arnone has personally spoken to the Chair of the Fulfill Board of Trustees and informed her that an application was never filed by Fulfill.
We did have other food banks in Monmouth County apply and they were all granted funding.
With that said, the Board of County Commissioners welcomes the opportunity to work with Fulfill to evaluate the great work they are doing for our underserved, their financial situation and how we can make both better.”