Brittney Lofthouse – Staff Writer
From 2000 to 2014 Macon County government allocated $50,000 in the annual budget for nonprofits in the community funding pool. Recognizing the need for the funds and a growing number of requests, county commissioners increased the annual allocation for the first time to $75,000. In 2016, Macon County received grant applications for the community funding pool that totaled $153,719.
Twenty-two different organizations applied for a piece of the county’s $75,000 pie, and after reviewing all applications, 12 organizations were recommended for partial funding, two organizations were recommended for full funding, and eight were not funded at all.
This year, several vacancies came open on the community funding pool when the time came to review applications, prompting County Manager Derek Roland and County Attorney Chester Jones to review the requirements to serve on the board as well as the board’s purpose and guidelines.
The community funding pool was established in 2000 at the recommendation of Jennifer Jones, who still serves on the task force today. The board was originally 12 members comprised of community members, nonprofit representatives and four positions designated to be held by a member of the Macon County Community Foundation, the Macon County Program for Progress, the Peggy Crosby Center and the Volunteer Council of Franklin.
Roland informed commissioners that the Volunteer Council no longer exists and recommended replacing the designated board seat with a member of REACH. He also suggested changing the board make-up to 13 members rather than 12 to give the board a tie-breaker vote. Commissioners approved Roland’s recommendations.
Roland informed the board that he had 12 of the 13 seats filled with pending applications and was awaiting confirmation for the 13th seat. The new board’s composition is:
Five community representatives:
Four nonprofit representatives:
Emily Ritter —March of Dimes
Tyler Shook — Rotary Club
Rick Westerman — Habitat for Humanity
Diane Cotton — Read2Me
Four designated representatives:
Patrick Betancourt — Macon Program for Progress
Robert Smith — Peggy Crosby Center
Andrew Anderson — REACH of Macon County
Pending approval— Macon County Community Foundation
After the last board member is approved, the new board will meet to consider applications for the 2017-18 fiscal year funding pool. The new board will consider all grants submitted to the county this year and will make recommendations to county commissioners for consideration in the coming months.