Earlier this month, the Boys & Girls Club of Henderson County honored Sen. Tom Apodaca with its “Local Hero” award. Two weeks later it had reason to thank him again.
That was when Apodaca, a Western North Carolina Republican who chairs the Rules Committee in the N.C. Senate, introduced an amendment into the Senate budget that would give Boys & Girls Clubs around the state $2.4 million in each of the next two years.
The amendment replaced a smaller grant to another group that works with youth, Big Brothers Big Sisters North Carolina Collaborative. Now Big Brothers Big Sisters, which has never received state money, will have to compete with other nonprofits for funds from a block grant. Last year the Boys & Girls Clubs competed.
A longtime supporter of the organization, Apodaca makes no apologies for inserting the money.
“I’ve always been a huge fan of Boys & Girls Clubs,” he said, adding that the organization has a track record with state funds.
Supporters of Big Brothers Big Sisters were disappointed.
“We thought we had the money secured for this,” said Sen. Jeff Tarte, a Republican representing the north Mecklenburg town of Cornelius. “Now we’ve got another hill to climb.”