Brittney Burns – Staff Writer
Each year, the Macon County Board of Commissioners and the Town of Franklin set aside funds to issue grants to local nonprofits who provide essential services for the community. Both boards set aside money and open the grant applications at the beginning of each fiscal year on July 1.
Last year, the Macon County Board of Commissioners voted to increase the money available in their Community Funding Pool for the first time since the fund was set up. The board increased the fund from $50,000 to $75,000. The increase allowed more nonprofits to submit grant applications and receive funding.
“Our local nonprofit organizations cannot be thanked enough,” said Macon County Manager Derek Roland. “They, like Macon County government are staffed with individuals who place the highest merit on giving back to the community. These are truly special people and Macon County would not be the place it is today in their absence. I would also like to commend the Macon County Board of Commissioners for recognizing the key role these NPO’s play in our community which resulted in the decision to increase in funding to the community funding pool by $25,000 in FY 15-16’.
“Increasing the amount of money available in the community funding pool absolutely allows the county to better serve the county as it will give our local non-profit organizations increased funding to assist them in helping meet the needs of Macon County citizens,” said Roland.
WIth $75,000 to allocate to the community, Macon County appoints a special board to accept and review all grant applications. The Community Funding Pool board reviews each application and also advises applicants through the process to assist in any way they can. Once the application period ends on July 30, the board reviews each application and then makes recommendations to the board of commissioners regarding how to allocate the funding.
“The community funding pool is crucial to Macon County as it serves as a funding source to local non-profit organizations,” said Roland. “Government exists for one reason and one reason only which is to provide common goods, or those services such as emergency services that the private sector cannot provide to our citizens. The primary reason these services cannot be provided by the private sector is because they are not profitable. At the third lowest tax rate in the state, Macon County provides these ‘common goods’ to our citizens as efficiently as anyone. Unfortunately however, Macon County cannot meet every specialized need that arises in a community. Nonprofits by design assist the government in meeting these specialized needs. Macon County can leverage the $75,000 in the community funding pool by distributing it to various NPO’s in our community specializing in everything from early childhood development and literacy to natural resource preservation. In receiving these individual grants from the community funding pool, local non-profits can better carry out their individual missions. This leads to a better community, and also reduces the burden on the taxpayers because the NPO’s continue meeting needs that would otherwise go unfulfilled or have to be picked up by the local government (staff, supplies etc.).”
The Town of Franklin sets aside $40,000 each year for nonprofits who work to serve the residents of Franklin. The Town’s nonprofit funding pool opens Wednesday July 6, and applications will be due by Monday, Aug. 22, by 5 p.m.
“The Town of Franklin’s nonprofit funding pool accepts applications from all nonprofit agencies,” said Town of Franklin Manager Summer Woodard. “All agencies applying must complete the application and submit the application to the manager’s office by the due date.”
The Franklin Board of Aldermen will review all submitted applications during its September board meeting, at which time each non-profit will be afforded the opportunity to pitch their grant requests specifically to the board. The board of aldermen then listens to the requests from each organization and awards funding.
“The Town of Franklin’s nonprofit funding pool allows nonprofit organizations to apply for funding to continue to provide services and projects to citizens of Franklin that they may not be able to obtain anywhere else,” explained Woodard.