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Recommendations made on grant funding
Nonprofits tapped for county support
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Forsyth County News


Of the $435,000 Forsyth County budgeted for grants to nonprofits this year, the social services committee recommended allocating $409,000.

During a meeting Friday, the five-member panel selected 10 county nonprofits to receive funding, leaving $26,000 in reserves for now.

Only agencies working in partnership with the county’s juvenile justice system are considered for the money, of which the Department of Children and Family Services has always received the largest portion.

The county commission will use the committee’s recommendations to determine how to administer the grants. The issue likely will be scheduled for the March 27 work session.

Friday, the committee reviewed several facets to determine an appropriate grant amount for an agency meeting the requirements, but a new factor was discussed that hadn’t been much of an issue previously.

Commissioner Patrick Bell, who serves on the committee, noted that some agencies had a substantial amount of money on hand, which played into the county’s grant decisions.

“We’re using taxpayer dollars to subsidize these programs,” Bell said. “I appreciate that things are looking better for them, but at the same time I’m not interested in using tax dollars if they’re doing well.”

Committee Chairwoman Nicole Morgan said that several nonprofits have started to see fundraising pick up again, which may explain the increase in cash available.

“We experienced being in the red in terms of operating for so many years with the downturn in the economy and the dramatic cuts that we saw to so many grants,” said Morgan, executive director of the Forsyth Community Connection.

“Many of them are looking to put a little bit of money into their rainy day funds.”

That phenomenon appeared to impact the funding for at least one agency, but member Nancy Smallwood noted the committee also doesn’t want to “penalize” groups who are doing a good job of money management.

Other factors the committee considered included: number of children served by an agency; what the grant money would be used for; and the financial impact of other county benefits, such as use of a facility.

Overall, the committee recommended grant funding for the following: DFCS; 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.

Two of the agencies that applied did not receive any funding because the committee’s average scores placed them below the threshold.

In 2011, the committee granted $407,000 to 11 agencies, doling out the budgeted amount.

The budget increased to $435,000 for the grants this year to reflect the actual total last year, since DFCS received an extra $28,000 in mid-2011.

The committee recommended granting the department the full requested amount of $171,000 in 2012 and gave most other agencies the same amount as in 2011 for 2012.