News: CJ Exclusives

Auditor Reports on Nonprofit Funding

General Assembly sought more information about state-funded organizations

The State Auditor’s Office has delivered to the General Assembly and the Easley administration a new report detailing grants to nonprofit organizations by state agencies last year.

The annual report catalogues all grants made by state agencies to nonprofits such as Smart Start partnerships, economic development groups, and community service agencies from July 1, 2002 and June 30, 2003. Legislators last year set a deadline of Jan. 31 for compiling the report as part of an effort to increase oversight of nonprofit agencies.

Legislators, in an effort to tighten oversight of grants to nonprofits, required agencies to submit their lists of grants to the auditor’s office by Oct. 31. Most of the nonprofits met the deadline, but a few did not, a press release from the auditor’s office said.

“We have met our legal obligation to submit the report, but that is just a beginning for us in trying to help keep a closer watch on nonprofit grants,” State Auditor Ralph Campbell said. “We’ve already added a nonprofits specialist to our staff and will be continuing our efforts to make sure that taxpayers’ money is fully accounted.”

The report is the first produced since the auditor’s office created the nonprofits specialist position. Angela Gunn, a five-year veteran of the auditor’s office, began working as nonprofits specialist last year. She will keep track of audits filed by nonprofits and help them to meet state reporting requirements.

North Carolina law requires nonprofits receiving $300,000 or more from the state each year to file an audit report with the agency making the grant and the auditor’s office. A new database will help auditors keep track of the audit reports and the nonprofits required to file them. Nonprofits receiving $15,000 to $300,000 are required to file a sworn statement on outlining revenues and expenditures.

A new web site in the auditor’s office will help nonprofits meet their obligations, and allow the public to see what grants were approved by the state, the press release said. The new site is available from the home page of the auditor’s office. The “Nonprofits” navigation button will take nonprofits to the regulations and forms they are required to file. On the same page are the annual reports on State Aid to Private Organizations. The grant reports are posted in Excel so they can be searched and sorted on most home or business computers.

Also, printed copies of the reports can be obtained by filing a request under the Audits section of the web site or by calling the auditor’s office at 919-807-7500.