Commissioners approve nonprofit contributions

Published 5:26 pm Friday, September 13, 2019

JACKSON – When the Northampton County FY 2019-20 budget was approved in June, the commissioners briefly noted a new $20,000 fund for nonprofit contributions, which hadn’t been included in previous years. The goal, they said at that time, was to help organizations, which will in turn benefit county citizens.

In August, the Board approved appropriating funds to two different nonprofits.

After a closed session on Aug. 7, the commissioners unanimously approved a donation to Taking Time to Care Services in the amount of $2,250. The Gaston-based nonprofit requested the money to offset the costs of their summer youth camp program.

A representative from that organization initially went to the Board with their request on July 1, but Board Chair Charles Tyner said they had not yet gotten the procedure established for the new fund, so they would have to wait a few weeks to consider it.

The second nonprofit to receive a donation from the fund was End Time Empowerment & Delivery Ministry in the amount of $20,000. This action was approved after a closed session on Aug. 19. This organization currently owns the former Eastside Elementary School property in Jackson. They plan to use the money to establish and construct a missionary program, which will provide various programs, such as a food pantry, to benefit the county’s citizens.

A budget amendment was approved by the Board during their regular Sept. 3 meeting to appropriate an additional $20,000 into this nonprofit fund, doubling the amount available to nonprofits during the 2019-20 fiscal year. After the two appropriations in August, there is now $17,750 remaining.

At the commissioners’ July 15 meeting, they discussed a potential policy outlining the procedure and requirements for nonprofits to receive money from the county’s fund. County Attorney Scott McKellar presented the draft to the Board, explaining that it was based on similar policies from other counties and it could be changed if the commissioners had other suggestions. He also noted there would be strict quarterly reporting to ensure the money is being spent properly.

Tyner took issue with one part of the proposed policy: the recommendation that a nonprofit has been in operation for at least two years before being eligible to receive funds.

“I don’t want to wait two years before we can do it,” he said at that meeting, suggesting some newer nonprofits could still do just as much good work with the money as more established ones.

“The reason we’ve set this up is because we’re thinking we need all the help we can get in Northampton County,” he continued.

Commissioner Geneva Faulkner said she could see Tyner’s point, but also noted proper financial reporting is important if a nonprofit wants to maintain its 501c3 status. She suggested a one year in operation requirement instead of two.

During the discussion, the commissioners also talked about different deadlines to apply for the funding, but did not come to any specific agreement.

The commissioners voted unanimously to consider the policy as a “first reading” which could be brought back to the Board again at a later date.

McKellar told the News Herald this week, “Proposed nonprofit contribution procedures continue to be studied and analyzed by county staff. The Board of Commissioners may consider taking action on such procedures on a future date.”