Shutdown leads to freeze on grant funding for vital local non-profit


WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The impact of the partial government shutdown is being felt by those who work hard to help others hurting or in need around the Cape Fear.

For days now, The Carousel Center, who provides therapy and more for victims of assault, has known they will not have any help from federal funding awarded to them.

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“Just like our Coast Guard, just like our TSA and air traffic controller folks that are showing up for work, your non-profits are going to do the same thing because we’re called to the work,” said center executive director Amy Feath.

Last week they received the message no non-profit wants to read.

“You probably don’t have to hurry to get anymore reimbursement requests in because we’re not going to be able to process them anyway for payment until the government is back to functioning order,” said Feath nearly word for word paraphrasing the email she received.

Feath says they worked hard to qualify for not one but three grants. The process took months. They were approved by the state Governor’s Crime Commission to receive the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) grants. For more than a year, they had been utilizing the federal grant funding that is meant to last two years.

“What’s frustrating is, we did the competition, we scored high enough to be awarded the grant award,” said Feath who is already working on the grant application process for 2020 funding.

Even more frustrating is how much funding that takes away from their effort to provide a friendly but critical space for victims and law enforcement.

“This funding is the bulk of our operational expenses,” Feath said.

It equals up to half a million dollars annually that’s now tied up. Feath says the grants account for nearly half of their budget.

“You count on being able to submit that monthly reimbursement request because that’s what you’re making payroll,” Feath said.

Now reimbursements for any expenses that can be submitted under the grant will be bills the non-profit will have to foot. Feath says fortunately their board had a contingency plan for any issues surrounding grant funding.

“We have not had to look at pinching pennies yet but again we’re already talking about how we can put off major purchases,” said Feath.

However, now the nonprofit executive says the lapse in funding will set them back at the very least over 2 months of costs.

“We’re still working but families are going to start experiencing additional stress and strain and we don’t want that in communities because it doesn’t help us to stay healthy,” Feath said.

The Carousel Center begins their fundraising campaigns in one month.