The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Monday March 27th

Alderman Grant Emergency Funding for Nonprofit

The board granted $2,500 to Community Cuisine on Tuesday night, tapping into the $15,000 Carrboro contingency budget that is set aside for emergencies.

Community Cuisine is a Chapel Hill-based nonprofit organization that aims to help youth and adults achieve self-sufficiency through development in the culinary field, said Sydney Sherrod, co-executive director.

"(The $1,200 grant) made a very positive impact on our organization," she said.

Sherrod said the group's budget crisis stemmed from a lapse in leadership within the organization, which coincided with the deadline period for funding request applications through the Human Services Commission.

Town Manager Robert Morgan said this unique situation allowed the group to be considered by the board for contingency budget funding.

He added that funding was granted to Community Cuisine because the board supported the organization's mission.

Morgan said contingency budget money is spent on a case by case basis. The board can modify or reject requests for funding. He said $12,000 remains in the 2001-02 budget, which should last until next June. "Typically they don't spend all of it," Morgan said.

In addition to offering culinary classes for school-age students during the summer, Community Cuisine also helps the unemployed gain practical job skills, Sherrod said.

"We offer three week programs and sustained support for a following year including job placement and job preparation skills," she said.

Sherrod cited one female client, who completed a three-week program in the spring. It was the client's first achievement since dropping out of high school, she said. "It gave her the confidence she needed to go back and get her General Education Degree," Sherrod said.

Alderman Joal Broun said she thought the organization fulfilled a vital need in the community.

"I've heard of the good work they do in the community," Broun said. "They demystify cooking and make it fun."

But Broun added that although she wholeheartedly supports Community Cuisine, she thinks there should be more consistent standards in processing requests for funding. "We need to have some policy," she said.

Broun said there should be an addendum to the existing application giving specific criteria that applicants must meet. "Some questions we need to consider are: is it an emergency?" Broun said. "What does the group do? Do they have other donors funding them? Are these start-up costs or something else?"

Alderman Mark Dorosin said he agreed that a list of guidelines would be helpful but said the nature of the fund is for unplanned circumstances.

"I think that even if we have guidelines for the contingency fund, there will be some exceptions made based on the way that needs arise in the community," Dorosin said.

"That's what contingency means."

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