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Local nonprofits riding economic wave

Posted January 19, 2011

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— More than 200 leaders of nonprofit groups across the state met in Raleigh Wednesday to talk about how the political landscape for 2011 might affect them.

Nonprofits experienced a 26 percent decline in state support last year, according to the North Carolina Center for Nonprofits, and with a projected $3.7 billion state budget shortfall, they could experience many more funding issues.

State cuts have already caused contracting problems and forced many groups to downsize, reduce employee benefits and dip into lines of credit.

Experts say one of the best moves to combat the threat of a lack of funding is for nonprofit leaders to get to know their local lawmakers so that they can get to know their value in helping the economy bounce back.

“That’s the area that state officials look at,” said Vicki Parker, with the North Carolina Minority Support Center. “They look at the nonprofit, and I think it’s our job to educate them and let them know the importance of what we do and the role we can play in helping the economy recover.”

Johnnie Darden, who runs an at-risk youth mentoring nonprofit called Standing Inside the Gap, applied two years ago for an $80,000 grant that runs out this year.

He is already looking at other places for funding but says he'll need some from the state.

If they don't fund organizations like his now, he says, “they'll spend that money later building prisons and jails. You got to have employees and people to staff those facilities.”

According to the Center for Nonprofits, the nonprofit sector provides about 400,00 jobs in the state, approximately 10 percent of the state’s work force.


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