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Nonprofit grants approved by Northampton Commissioners

JACKSON – Three local nonprofits will receive some additional funding, thanks to grants approved by the Northampton County Commissioners at their regular meeting here on Aug. 3.

The Board established a fund during the prior fiscal year to provide grants to local nonprofits, explaining that they wanted to support organizations which will, in turn, benefit county citizens. They approved a policy and application for the nonprofit contribution program, and $20,000 was allocated for the current fiscal year which began in July.

Northampton County Economic Development Director Franklin Williams presented three applications at Monday’s meeting along with his recommendations on whether or not the funding requests should be approved.

The first application was from the Community Senior Enhancement Program (CSEP), a Severn-based group that provides activities, food, educational programs, and fellowship to senior citizens in the area.

They utilize the Meherrin Cultural Arts Building (formerly the old Meherrin School) for their meetings, and have also been in the process of updating and rehabilitating the century old building.

CSEP’s requested funding amount was $5,000 in order to repair support beams and flooring in the building. Williams recommended that request be granted.

“I’ve actually been to their senior center and I’ve seen a few programs there. I would be in agreement in providing this organization with the funding to assist them further,” stated Commissioner Nicole Boone.

Commissioner Geneva Faulkner motioned to approve the request, and Boone seconded. The vote was unanimously in favor.

The second application came from the Lake Gaston Community Center. The nonprofit serves as a venue for fundraisers, forums, and social functions, in addition to being available to rent for other events. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the organization has suffered strain on its operational budget.

The community center requested a total of $17,500 to go towards building maintenance ($2,000), building a storage area ($3,000), and paving the parking lot ($12,500). Williams’ recommendation was to award them a grant of at least $2,000 to offset their operational costs.

“We only have $20,000 for a year,” Williams explained of the small amount available overall to contribute to local nonprofits.

“We’ve just got a few dollars,” added Board Chair Charles Tyner, noting that they give according to need, and that need is different for each organization.

Williams also stated he would be happy to assist the community center in applying for more grants elsewhere.

Faulkner motioned to approve the $2,000 appropriation for the Lake Gaston Community Center. The vote was also unanimously in favor after Commissioner Kelvin Edwards provided the second.

Williams’ third presentation was an application from the National Center for Missing and Endangered, Inc. The Jackson-based nonprofit helps promote awareness and provide assistance for missing persons cases all over the United States.

Originally, the organization requested a grant to help them establish an office and cover other startup costs. But that amount well exceeded what was available in the county’s nonprofit fund, so the request was revised to consider any donation amount.

“I believe a donation of $1,000 would be in order, and we will assist them in locating funding opportunities such as Golden Leaf and the Department of Justice,” Williams recommended.

Boone motioned to approve the $1,000 donation to the organization and Edwards quickly added a second. Like the other votes, this one was also unanimous.

Williams had a fourth donation request from Hannah’s Place, a nonprofit which assists domestic violence victims, but the commissioners decided to table that for consideration at the next meeting because they didn’t have all the necessary information about the request yet.

“We’re thankful we’re able to do this to help our nonprofits in Northampton County,” Tyner concluded.

Last August, the Board approved its first allocations from the newly established nonprofit fund. Those dollars went to Taking Time to Care Services, a Gaston-based organization which runs a youth summer camp program, and End Time Empowerment & Delivery Ministry in Jackson, which planned to construct a community food pantry among other missionary programs.