When the Guilford County Board of Commissioners adopted a new 2024-2025 fiscal budget on Thursday, June 20, $1.7 million of that budget was taxpayer money that the board is handing out to community-based organizations and other non-profits.

The group of chosen recipients this year is especially interesting because, unlike in past years, the Board of Commissioners didn’t hold any public discussions at budget time on which organizations should or shouldn’t get money.

Usually, the commissioners hold at least one entire work session in June devoted largely to that question.

Also, unlike past years, the county manager and a committee of county staff designed to determine which non-profits should get money was never formed and therefore did not provide any input.

The commissioners wanted to take over the process entirely this year, and they certainly did.

In May, when the county manager’s budget was presented, the Rhino Times actually thought there had been a printing error: that county staff or the printer had accidentally left out the list of recommended non-profits, which is always in the manager’s proposed budget – but was not in the manager’s proposed budget this year.

When the Rhino Times asked county staff for this year’s list in the manager’s proposed budget, staff replied that there was no list because those decisions were being left entirely up to the county commissioners.

In past years, county staff would weed through applications and ask all sorts of questions. Is this organization financially trustworthy? Can they produce audits that show how the money is being used? What tangible, measurable results and benefits does this program produce? How do the goals of this non-profit fit in with Guilford County’s service efforts?

This year’s list is a hodge-podge of churches, schools, organizations with “Mustard Seed” in the name and others – many groups that have never before been funded by the county and some that the Rhino Times has never heard of.

There’s no question that many of the non-profits on the list do great work in the community, but many other equally worthy organizations did not get a dime from the county.

You might, for instance, ask why T Wingate Andrews High School got $50,000, while no other high school got a dime.  The answer to the question is: Who the hell knows?

Since this year the commissioners didn’t give any explanation before adopting the budget or after the budget was released, it’s hard to know what any of them were thinking.

Chairman of the Board of Commissioners Skip Alston said the night before the budget was adopted that the majority of the discussion that day with other commissioners (presumably over the phone) was about three things: how much to give Guilford County Schools, how much Sheriff’s deputies should get paid, and figuring out which community-based organizations should be funded.

Alston said that, this year, the commissioners decided to take the task on themselves because, when staff did it by committee, they did so without full knowledge of the situation on the ground.

“The commissioners are the ones active in the community who see where the true needs are,” Alston said.

That may be, however, since the commissioners haven’t said before or after the budget was adopted why these non-profits were the chosen ones, it’s hard to know anything regarding the commissioners’ rationale.

As of now, it’s a complete black box.

Alston also admitted that – even though the county has tried for two decades to come up with a rational policy for handing out the money to non-profits – in the end, the list is always a list of which organizations can get five votes – that is, a majority of the nine-member Board of Commissioners.

The Rhino Times is attempting to discover why the following groups got money while plenty of other worthy non-profits did not – but, regardless, here’s the list of the recipients and the amounts that are included in the Board of Commissioners final 2024-2025 adopted budget…

A Legacy of Hope $5,000

A Simple Gesture – Greensboro Inc. $15,000

Aaron T. Jones Jet-black Empowerment $45,000

African American Atelier Inc. $50,000

ARC of High Point $10,000

Beyond Sports NC $20,000

Big Brother Big Sister $15,000

Black Child Development Institute $10,000

B-Natural $5,000

Carolina Theater $25,000

Children Law Center $20,000

Combat Female Veterans Assoc. $50,000

Commander Peace Academy $20,000

D-Up Inc. $20,000

Establishing Safe Cultures $20,000

Families Against Senseless Killings $20,000

Family Room Foster Care Resource $10,000

Folk Festival $25,000

Friends Of John Coltrane $25,000

Glenwood Together $10,000

Greensboro Business League $45,000

Greensboro Urban Ministry $40,000

Growing The Distance Inc. $20,000

Guilford Housing Foundation $10,000

Hayes Taylor YMCA $40,000

High Point Arts Council $50,000

High Point Discovered $10,000

Historic Jamestown Society $20,000

Horse Power $10,000

HP Friendship Foundation $15,000

HP Housing Authority $15,000

Jalloh’s Upright Services $15,000

Junior Aggies $7,500

Kids Poetry Basketball Inc. $15,000

Level Up Parenting $10,000

Lydia House Inc.  $20,000

Malachi House II  $37,500

Mega Church Ministries $20,000

Mustard Seed Community Health. $10,000

New Hope Missionary Baptist Next  $10,000

Level of the Triad Inc.  $45,000

Open Door  $25,000

Peacehaven Community Farms $15,000

Piedmont Triad Film Commission $15,000

Room at The Inn $15,000

Senior Resources. $25,000

Sister Circle. $70,000

Southwest Renewal, HP $75,000

St. Stephen AME Zion Church Still $10,000

I Rise  $25,000

T Wingate Andrews High School  $50,000

TCC Community Health $20,000

The Heroes Center $10,000

The Mind Group $20,000

The Oaks Therapeutic Community $15,000

The Salvation Army of Greater HP  $15,000

Triad Food Pantry Inc. $50,000

Triad Health Project. $40,000

Triad Play Therapeutic After $25,000

School TSCF Food Network. $15,000

Turning Everything Around United. $20,000

Arts Council of Greensboro United. $75,000

Way of Greater High Point United $10,000

Way of Greensboro $10,000

Urban Roots NC  $12,500

D. Muhammad Center $7,500

West End Ministries. $20,000

Welfare Reform Liaison Project $25,000

YMCA Of High Point-Chavis Branch  $40,000

Youth Behavior Helper $20,000

Youth Focus $25,000

YWCA of High Point  $15,000

That brings the county’s total community-based organization funding to $1.7 million.