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State Budget Cuts Impact All NC Nonprofits

March 7, 2012

RALEIGH, N. C. - North Carolina nonprofit groups are having their proverbial rugs ripped out from under them, in the form of budget cuts approved by the State Assembly in 2011 to overcome the historic budget shortfall.

According to the NC Center for Nonprofits, organizations statewide saw $127 million cut from their budgets in the 2009-2010 budget cycle. The impact of those cuts lives on, says David Heinen, the Center's director of public policy and advocacy.

"There are millions of people who are not getting the services that they need. The need for those has gone up; the degree to which nonprofits are able to provide services has gone down."

According to Heinen, 62 percent of nonprofit organizations that receive state grants saw a funding decrease, and one-third of them had to reduce services as a result.

And this year, an unintended consequence of the cuts is that many privately-funded nonprofits also feel the impact. Vicki Meath, executive director of Just Economics in Asheville, says they are now competing with historically state-funded organizations for the same pool of private grant money. Hers is a privately-funded organization that helps raise awareness and offers support to businesses seeking to pay their employees a living wage, versus a minimum wage.

"I think our approach is a little bit more conservative and so, we're trying to maintain our level of funding at a time when we'd really like to grow."

North Carolina nonprofits employ more than 400,000 people in the state, making up almost 10 percent of the workforce.

Reporting for this story by North Carolina News Connection in association with Media in the Public Interest. Media in the Public Interest is funded in part by Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation.

Stephanie Carson/Stephanie Carroll Carson, Public News Service - NC