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Determining non-profit funding in the Chatham County budget

Posted Thursday, May 23, 2013

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Pittsboro, NC - Usually the most emotional portion of the county budget discussion every year is the non-profit funding. I've watched this process be refined every year for a number of years now and doubt that many people understand the effort that goes into it. I don't envy the volunteers that review the applications since there are always requests for a lot more money than is available. I also respect county staff for continually working to improve the system to ensure that county funds are used as fairly and effectively as possible.

This is a very brief overview of the process.

Human service non-profits and agencies apply jointly to the United Way and the county. The Board of Commissioners sets funding priorities and appoints volunteers to review the applications. After thorough review and discussion the volunteer panels make funding recommendations to the County Manager who makes minor revisions and then submits the recommendations to the commissioners as part of the proposed budget.

The Commissioners have an additional $15,000 they can allocate directly to non-profits. This year there were requests for over $400,000 and about $230,000 to allocate, so you can see the challenge. This year there was a special emphasis on funding programs directed toward hunger, housing and health care, but other programs funded include literacy, youth and teen issues, legal and cultural understanding.

This year there was a special emphasis on funding programs directed toward hunger, housing and health care

The Human Services portion of the budget which contains the non-profit funding on page 82-83 can be found here.

Although the county can offer some funding to these non-profits, they all rely on the community to be effective. True community involvement through local citizens donating their own time, talents or money, whatever they have to offer, is what makes these programs work. The more people are personally invested in their communities and in these programs, the stronger their communities become. So this is a good time for all of us to look at the groups requesting funding, as well as the many other community organizations in the county, and ask ourselves what we can personally contribute.

The county doesn't have the discretion to only tax people who can afford it in order to fund more programs. It's much better if we personally contribute whatever we can afford, to the organizations we feel most strongly about. In that way we can all contribute to a stronger community.

The entire county budget can be found here.

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Determining non-profit funding in the Chatham County budget

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