Doing business in Illinois as a not for profit has been difficult for many years due to the annual budget debacle, which has created chaos and challenges in a variety of ways. I participated in an interview for local media recently, and the burning question was in regards to what will you . . . Crittenton Centers do if there is no budget on July 1st? In order to answer that question I want to put a few things into perspective.
First of all, while there was a stopgap budget passed late on June 30th it only goes through the end of the calendar year and not the fiscal year which means only a six month budget. Imagine if you will, that you were told through your job that they were only going guarantee paying you for the next 6 months but were hoping you would continue doing your job for the next year. Then, to further complicate the matter, they told you that you were going to be paid consistently 2-3, sometimes 4 or more months late for your work. So, while a stopgap budget provides some level of hope, it once again is putting a band aid on a very serious matter.
Secondly, there are a few things that I know in regards to the services that we provide. I know that there are hundreds of children and families every year whose lives are better because of our involvement. Last year alone, there were well over 5,000 admissions to the Crisis Nursery. There were thousands of hours of counseling, skill building, parental training, and support provided to teen moms, first time moms, and at risk parents. Based on research, the types of services we provide lead to a decrease in abuse and neglect. And because of the decrease in abuse and neglect, there are countless lives changed for the better because of the positive long term impact.
And finally, we are grateful for a caring community that supports our efforts to address the needs of at risk children and families. This past year, we have had over 2,200 individuals volunteer, providing approximately 16,000 hours of service. Our volunteers give of their time by cleaning classrooms or doing yard work or supporting special events or rocking babies to mention a few. Our volunteers are an invaluable asset to the Agency! Then there are times that we need formula or diapers or other supplies to help meet the needs of the children in our care. These kinds of donations make our funds go further while ensuring that the need is met. In addition to this support, there are individuals that donate funds to us on a regular basis and many have been doing this for years. There are also individuals that give when they learn about a specific need as well as, there are individuals and businesses that support our special events and fundraisers.
So, my answer to the burning question by the media recently; what will Crittenton Centers do on July 1st if there is no budget? The same thing that we did last year and the same thing that we have done for nearly 125 years . . . continue providing quality services for children and families. We are grateful for the opportunity to serve our community by protecting and nurturing children and families. We could not do what we do without all of the people that support our mission through giving their time, resources, funds and of themselves.
Please consider how you can help Crittenton Centers. Call us at 674-0105 or visit our website at www.crittentoncenters.org to learn more about how you can volunteer, donate or take a tour.