As Mesa County Partners sets a budget for 2016, we go through a process of completing a financial puzzle to determine how the organization will continue to serve more than 1,300 young people.
With an overall operating budget of about $2.5 million, our funding comes from a variety of sources. We seek grants from large family foundations in Denver; submit proposals to service clubs here in Grand Junction; and hold several large fund-raisers, including the SuperStars competition and live television auction. Partners also receive funds from such government entities as the Mesa County Department of Human Services.
Although the economy continues to recover, the amount of funding available for service providers has decreased. Funding from the Mesa County Department of Human Services will decrease from $128,000 in 2015 to $60,000 in 2016.
In the world of nonprofit organizations, funding sources constantly change. But the challenge remains: How do we make the numbers work so the children we serve aren’t affected by funding cuts? Turning kids away is not an option.
We created a campaign to bridge the gap. The $60K in 60 Days push to fund Partners programs will run through the end of the year, giving us 60 days to make up the $60,000 funding cut.
In looking at how these funds are used, it’s sometimes easier to consider expenses for various programs.
The Western Colorado Youth Conservation Corps provides opportunities for young people to work on land projects. Some of these projects take place on public lands, such as maintaining trails on the Colorado National Monument. These projects often occur in remote areas that require crews to camp for three to four days. It costs more than $100 a day to feed 35 youth.
Consider the 150 youth involved in the Partners mentoring program. While we have more than 80 active partnerships, there are still more than 80 youth waiting to be matched with senior partners. Children in the program have an opportunity to participate in fun and healthy activities Partners sponsors — activities at Spin City in Grand Junction the first Tuesday of every month, for example. While we get a reduced fee for the kids to skate, there’s still a cost to Partners to offer these activities. A donation of $1,000 can help defray the cost of providing fun and free events to the youth we serve.
Throughout the year, the staff at Partners conducts educational classes for more than 700 youth. These court-mandated classes provide information about the dangers of drugs, alcohol and addiction. Providing a staff person, room and supplies for these classes costs nearly $18,000 annually. In addition, Partners conducts victim empathy classes as part of our restitution program.
We also taking a hard look at our operating expenses to see where we can cut costs. We’re participating in the Nonprofit Energy Efficient Program. As we work with individuals in Denver, we expect to save more than $1,000 in the coming year through increased energy efficiency. This is just one example of evaluating how we conduct business. We hope to make the dollars we receive go farther by closely watching every penny.
Want to help with the $60 K in 60 Days campaign? Call 245-5555 or visit the Web site at www.mesapartners.com to get more information. You also can mail a tax-deductible contribution to Mesa County Partners, 1169 Colorado Ave., Grand Junction, CO, 81501.
Thank you for considering Mesa County Partners in your year-end contributions — 1,300 youth in Mesa County will benefit from your generosity.