Guilford County Commissioner Skip Alston has been wheeling and dealing in politics for about three decades so it’s no surprise that, in the 11th hour of the 2019-2020 Guilford County budget talks, Alston managed to get $10,000 in county money put in the budget to be given to the Greensboro Men’s Foundation – a group that’s never gotten county money before, and one that, not coincidently, Alston is president of.
When asked about the money after the Thursday, June 20 meeting at which the county budget was approved, Alston said the Men’s Foundation was going to use it to fund a special event to benefit underprivileged school children. He said the foundation planned to buy hundreds of backpacks for those kids and put in supplies they will need for school.
Alston surprised many people on Thursday night when he, a Democrat unhappy with much of the budget, voted in favor of the budget largely determined by the five Republicans who control the nine-member Board of Commissioners.
It’s easy to tell that the $10,000 for the Men’s Foundation was tacked on at the very last minute: A list of all revisions made by the Board of Commissioners was typed up by county staff for approval at the meeting, but one lone item – “10K for Greensboro Men’s Foundation” – is scribbled across the bottom.
Earlier this year, Alston was elected president of the club that started in 1927 and consists of 40 of the most influential black men in Greensboro. That number never changes and the only way a new member can join is if a present member dies or drops out. The foundation has had a tremendous amount of influence in shaping Greensboro and Guilford County over the organization’s 90-year history.