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Committee reviews grant funding
Changes coming to county process
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Forsyth County News

Members of the Forsyth County social services committee fine-tuned the process of offering grants to local nonprofits Friday in preparation for this year’s applications.

Since its start in 2009, the committee has made recommendations to the county commission on which agencies to fund and how much to award.

The group reviewed the effects of the grants so far this year and looked at ways to improve.

Chairwoman Nicole Morgan said the program “gets a little better every year” as the committee receives feedback.

Also, with the county’s budget targeted for approval in October, the committee can put out the applications for next year’s grant funding in September and make the awards for the start of 2013.

This year, commissioners approved the grants in March. Ten agencies were awarded $409,000 from Forsyth’s 2012 budget.

Only organizations working in partnership with the county’s juvenile justice system, or serving at-risk youths, are considered for the money, of which the Department of Children and Family Services has always received the largest share.

The other nonprofits receiving funding this year include: Child Advocacy Center; Family Haven; the Bald Ridge Lodge; Jessie’s House; Mentor Me; Court Appointed Special Advocates; Children’s Center for Hope and Healing; Abba House; and Supporting Adoption and Foster Families Together.

The mid-year meeting gives the county’s finance department the ability to review how the grant money is being spent, Morgan said.

Though some agencies spent money outside of what they had proposed, the funding was still went to needs of the organizations to serve their target groups, said Amanda Ream, of the county’s finance department.

Commissioner Jim Boff, who also serves on the committee, said if the spending still benefits the community, the county shouldn’t penalize the agency.

“As long as it doesn’t seem egregious,” Boff said, “I think I’m OK, but I would like to know.”

To that end, the committee did not consider changing the funding of any of the agencies at mid-year based on the reports. It did, however, make some suggestions for next year.

Requests to spend money in ways other than what was described in the application will have to receive approval in advance.

Also, any administrative spending of grant funding, such as to supplement salaries, will require a more detailed account of the activities of that person and how the position helps achieve the ultimate goals of the organization.

Agencies will have more requirements in quarterly reporting on spending, which will be explained in a new orientation meeting at the start of the year.