Nonprofits slimming down, some closing, due to state budget cuts

Jul. 24, 2013 @ 07:25 PM

The Durham-based N.C. Institute of Minority Economic Development already started adjusting programs and staff in reaction to expected state budget cuts, the nonprofit’s president said Wednesday.

State legislators planned to eliminate state funding for the nonprofit, according to the budget that came out of legislature’s conference committee on Sunday. The budget passed in both houses of the state legislature Wednesday and was sent to Gov. Pat McCrory.

The approximately $2.05 million cut represents almost 70 percent of the revenues that the nonprofit saw in 2011, according to tax documents. The group works to promote and develop minority and women-owned businesses firms as well as firms employing low-to-moderate income people.

Andrea Harris, the nonprofit’s president, said that the group had begun making changes earlier in the budget process. The group cut six of 20 staff members, she said. She also described efforts to increase the organization’s efficiency and trim programs.

“We may not do all the things we once did, but we will do some of them, and I think we will have stronger partnerships with the corporate community,” she said. “I don’t look at this as a negative thing. Businesses go through it all the time.”

Harris said the nonprofit will put more focus on support and assistance for companies trying to select and acquire loans, but will look to volunteers and workshops for companies seeking help with business plans.

“I think we have strong partnerships in the corporate community, and I think we will work on trying to expand those where they can benefit clients,” she also said.

Another state-supported nonprofit, the Biofuels Center of North Carolina, will close in light of cuts to the organization in the state budget.

“With our funding eliminated in the state’s 2013-14 budget, the center, in coming weeks, will responsibly, carefully and effectively terminate its activities, programs and projects,” said Wil Glenn, a spokesman for the organization.

Officials with the N.C. Biotechnology Center were still working out on Monday how they’d deal with a potential cut in state funding of 27 percent, or more than $4 million, proposed in the legislature’s negotiated state budget plan.

The Research Triangle Park-based center works to develop the state’s biotechnology sector.