Agency that helps others seeks helpWhen the economy is still flat, it’s hard for agencies to ask for funding, especially when the services they provide are valuable to a community and nearby areas.
By: Celeste Beam, Alexandria Echo Press
When the economy is still flat, it’s hard for agencies to ask for funding, especially when the services they provide are valuable to a community and nearby areas.
Dorie Twist with Wings Family Supportive Services in Douglas County went before the board of commissioners at Tuesday’s regular board meeting with a financial request of $6,000.
“Our agency is struggling,” Twist told the commissioners. “We have lost funding from the United Way because pledges didn’t come through this year. We are struggling to find funds.”
Twist noted that Wings has applied for a grant from the Otto Bremer Foundation but that the grant is a matching grant so the agency needs to come up with matching funds.
She asked the county board for a $6,000 donation for the upcoming year. She said if the county is able to donate, it should do so through the Douglas County Social Services budget because the county would then be able to get 66 percent back federally.
Three programs offered by Wings Family Supportive Services Twist are the Transitional Housing Program, PLUS Kids and the Father’s Resource Program.
The Transitional Housing Program, she said, is the only one in central Minnesota. The next closest one is in the metro area. During the past year, the program provided services to 12 mothers and 29 children by helping them move beyond domestic violence to self-sufficiency and independent living.
Statistics indicated that PLUS Kids keeps increasing in clients. In fiscal year 2008, it served 266 children and their parents; in 2009, it served 324 children and so far this year, PLUS Kids has served 414 children.
There were 1,331 supervised exchanges between parents and children and 496 supervised visits so far this year, said Twist. She called PLUS Kids a “wonderful program.”
The Father’s Resource Program was started about two and a half years ago, said Twist, noting that Douglas County is “lucky to have this program.” The closest program like it is in the metro area, she said, adding that there is a similar one in Otter Tail County but it only serves Otter Tail County residents.
So far this year, the program has provided services to 93 fathers, which benefited 131 children.
Commissioner Bev Bales asked if all of the funds Wings received would be matched by the Otto Bremer grant and Twist said they would.
Board chair Paul Anderson asked Mike Woods, director of Douglas County Social Services, how he would handle the request if it was taken out of his budget. Woods said he would have to be careful, adding that it would be wonderful if the board wanted to add the money to his budget. He said Wings is a great resource.
Anderson agreed that Wings is a fantastic organization but reminded the commissioners that the board agreed on a 0 percent levy increase.
Commissioner Dan Olson asked if the board could take time to think about the request and see if they can come up with the funding. Bales agreed and said it would be hard to answer right now.
Olson made a motion to delay making a decision until the next board meeting, which will take place Tuesday, December 14. Commissioner Jerry Johnson seconded the motion, noting that Olson will look into the issue.