They say there’s no harm in asking, so, if you run a non-profit that’s doing good work in Guilford County, time is almost up to put in your request through the brand new funding process that was established by the Guilford County Board of Commissioners earlier this year.

County staff and commissioners are currently creating the 2023-2024 fiscal budget, which is scheduled to be adopted in June, and county officials expect more than $1.5 million to go toward funding for non-profits that do things like enhance youth and community development, and promote education, arts, culture and job creation – among other things.

Last month, a portal on Guilford County’s website began taking applications and that portal will close at the end of March. The notice from the county states, “Community non-profits seeking to improve the quality of life for Guilford County residents are strongly encouraged to review and complete the Community Based Funding application before March 31, 2023.”

In the past, the application and selection process has been a complete mess, with taxpayer money often going to organizations that commissioners want to fund whether or not the service provided fit in with the county’s goals and regardless of whether that organization had stellar recordkeeping practices, a history of service, or had submitted its request after the deadline.

This year, county staff is attempting to bring some order to the chaos with a new, more clearcut policy; however, in the end, five votes are needed to pass a county budget, and non-profit funding for commissioners’ pet projects has always been one of the main negotiating chips for enticing a commissioner to vote for a budget.

Here’s how the process is supposed to work this year according to county staff: “A panel of county department representatives most closely affiliated with the proposed service will review applications and make recommendations for funding. Funding recommendations will be included in the County Manager’s [2023-2024] Recommended Budget and presented to the Board of Commissioners on May 18, 2023. The Board of Commissioners will review the recommendations as part of the budget adoption process. The County will notify non-profits that are awarded funding and begin the contracting process before July 1, 2023.”

Funding awards of up to $100,000 will be distributed upfront, and the organizations that receive those funds must submit quarterly reports stating how the money is spent and documenting that spending. Non-profits with awards of over $100,000 will be eligible to receive $100,000 upfront with the remaining funds distributed quarterly.

In addition to submitting quarterly reports, awardees receiving more than $100,000 must provide the county with an external audit.