Letter from the Staff

January/February 2024

Staff Message,

We would like to start with a heartfelt thank you to all that donated during October, November and December 2023, as we were able to raise $11,000 in Independent Donations.  Your donations will assist in our payment of rental, utilities, equipment repairs (kitchen), pesticide control, custodial services, telephone/internet services, bathroom/kitchen products, food supplies and many other overhead expenses.

We still need to raise $14,000 before December 31st and are making a sincere plea to our participants and members to assist us in this endeavor.  If you have enjoyed the benefits of any of our free programming or medical services during this past year, please consider donating so that we can continue our work in 2024.

Addressing Misconceptions:

  • We do not receive any of our budget from Sound Generations
  • Many people think we are fully funded by Sound Generations, but that is not true. We do not receive our budget from Sound Generations but rather are contracted in a Service Agreement with this larger non-profit for them to provide back-office services: IT services, Human Resources, and assistance from their Finance Dept. to assist with government grant billing and payroll processing. We pay this organization anywhere from $60,000 to $80,000/year for their assistance under this agreement.
  • We are not owned and operated by the City of Shoreline
  • Quite a few folks are surprised to learn that we are not owned and operated by the City of Shoreline or Lake Forest Park. Both the cities of Shoreline and Lake Forest Park provide some financial support in the form of grants that equaled 1/6 of our total budget in 2023; we are most grateful for their support but are 100% independent of these cities and generate our own budget.
  • We do not automatically receive hundreds of thousands of dollars in government grants
  • We receive some grant funding that we have diligently applied to and won through a competitive process. The hard-core truth is that post-COVID, the grants are few and far between.  The city of Seattle sponsors several senior-oriented grants but as our city is incorporated, we do not qualify.  The major focus in 2023 has been grants for youth and homeless programs and services, not senior focused services.
  • Not all instructors donate their time
  • Only 4 individuals donate their time. All of our instructors hold the highest level of credentials, and all continue to gain skills in their crafts as specialists in each of their disciplines as well as gerontology knowledge.  Post COVID, we risked the possibility of losing many of the instructors to other agencies paying a higher wage, therefore we raised their wages to meet the competition.  This is their income and not their hobby.

 

What you may not know is that the staff works behind the scenes, to provide many unseen needs of our community of aging adults.  This includes resourcing housing, groceries, working with external agencies in the case of elder abuse, and actively speaking on behalf of seniors for their rights and needs, from the local level to federal.  This involves attending meetings during and after hours as well as writing documents to support our rights.  In the new era of ageism, we are determined to speak out and be heard regarding those issues most important to our well-being.  Thank you to all for your kindness, support, and assistance in building our center’s program offerings and medical services. Please donate to support your center and the great work that we all do!

Letter from the Director: November-December 2023

Director’s Message

It is amazing to see that we are heading into the last quarter of 2023 and the holiday season.
So much has happened this year and I’d like to share a few thoughts on progress that we have
made in offering a wider variety of programming and additional services. Here are just a few
successes we saw this year:
• Added 5 hours of Spanish language programming on Wednesdays for our Hispanic guests
• Added Conversational Spanish class for English language participants
• Added 2-4 ethnic meals monthly in the Community Dining Program
• Hosted Emergency Preparedness lecture and distribution of 70+ Emergency Backpacks
• Added Rainbow Bingo and Trivia Night to evening programming
• Hosted successful weekend classes: Age Reversing Essentrics and Climate Support Yoga
• Added several new fitness and lifelong learning classes M-F; Otago, Zumba Gold, Roll N’ Roll
Aerobics, Healing Moves Yoga series, Veterans Yoga, Cancer Survivors’ Exercise Class, Take
Control Through Exercise During Cancer Treatment, Coloring for Adults, Puget Sound
Strummers Ukelele Jam Session, Conversational ESL, and Beginner ESL Reading; and classes
are full
• Added Acupuncture, Veterans Benefit Advisor, and free Social Work counseling
• Experienced the greatest growth in our history, of attracting greater diversity and
participation in classes and medical services

We successfully acquired $273,000+ in grant funding to support our programs and the Social
Worker’s and Veterans Benefit Advisor positions. With that said, we were left approximately
$467,000 to raise to meet our anticipated budget of $740,000. Thank you for purchasing
Memberships and understanding the need to support us through class fees as we currently have
900 members and have had well over 27,000 visits to the center. We especially want to thank
our wonderful community foundations, Live Long & Prosper and Knossos Foundation, for their
financial contribution to our success.
We have not been without challenges though, as we sustained an increased in our monthly rent/
utilities to $4,710.42, an increase of almost $800/month; existing vendors increased their costs
20-30%, requiring us to operate over 54+ programs without the Program Coordinator position
filled, to meet our financial obligations. This has placed great stress on the 2 full-time staff
members (Caleb and I) as well as the remaining staff that work 10-20 hours/week each.
With 2 months remaining in the year, our forecast is that we will end 2023 with a deficit of
$34,000 or more. We had hoped to raise $77,000 in Individual Donations and at present have
only resourced a fraction of these funds. Staff has chosen to make a direct plea to our
members and community, for financial support through individual donations. Here is an
example as to what your donation will support through the remaining 2023 year:
$25 = 1.5 Community Dining lunches OR 3 fitness classes
$50 = 3.5 Community Dining lunches OR 2 Footcare Services
$100 = 1 Birthday lunch live entertainer OR 6 Bastyr appointments
Our cost for each meal served at lunch is $15/person but we promote a suggested donation of
$4/person and are only reimbursed at a rate of $2.75/person. As you see, we incur a $12.25
loss for each meal served. However, proper nutrition is critical for wellbeing, and we will
continue to provide this service. As we head into the Giving Season, we will not participate in
Give Big Tuesday but simply request that you mail/drop off your donation to us directly. Help us
keep your center vibrant and alive by donating today. Thank you for your continued support and
I’ll see you at the Center!

Theresa LaCroix, Executive Director

Letter from the Director: September-October 2023

Director’s Message

What a busy summer we have had, between working on grants and great participation in classes.  Thank you all for voting YES on Prop 1, the Veterans, Seniors, and Human Services Levy (or VSHSL).  I’ve been asked how does it apply to our Senior Center now?  Here’s a very brief rundown of what will transpire at this point.  Grant applications for this funding will be released in October 2023 for all agencies that meet the criteria.  There are over 100 agencies in King County that will apply for a chunk of this funding.  As a Senior Center, we are required to join partnership with 2 other agencies, which will be called a HUB, and submit a joint grant.  The purpose of this is to utilize the funds more efficiently, by sharing resources.  For example, we have just hired a new Veterans Benefit Advisor, who will also work at the Ballard Senior Center and Lake City Senior Center, our new HUB partners for 2024 – 2027.  The other centers will pay her wages separately out of any funding allocated to them, but sharing her talents, reduces our time spent finding qualified individuals and it is more enticing to attract a part-time employee to 24 hours/week, rather than the 8 hours/week that we would offer.  Once we submit the grant, there will be a 2-4 month period of review by a selection committee, who will decide which agency receives money and how much.  Remember in 2019, we did not receive any funding and we went forth with a very active outcry to the county as 39 other centers received $250,000/year each of 3 years.  Due to the pressure, they then provided us $57,000/year for 2021, 2022, and 2023 out of the General County Budget.  I’ve attended countless meetings over the past 3 years, being very vocal regarding this grave error in VSHSL distribution of funds and continue to be vocal.  Northwest King County has a great champion in our court, as our King County councilmember, Rod Dembowski, has made it clear that we have rights to this funding as taxpayers.  In the next grant application, I’ll be requesting $250,000 to finance the following: a nurse 1 day/week, a Veterans Benefit Advisor 1 day/week, a Digital Coordinator 1.5 days/week, and a Mental Health Counselor   1 day/week.  The funds will also cover any electronic equipment we need and a new sound system for our Multi-Purpose Room.

Many of you know, the number of grants during Covid have ceased and we are struggling to find revenue sources that will provide a large sum of money.  Currently, we are less than $20,000 in the red so far this year, due to great fund raising by our board and staff. Our budget to operate over 65 programs free or low cost, is $720,000 in 2023.  I’m now turning to all of you for help.  During the next 4 months, we will be making our plea to our community and members, for individual donations and corporate donations.  We hope to raise $50,000 during this time and ask for your assistance.  Your donor gifts will be used for additional low cost or free, medical services, educational classes, wellness programs and fun congregate activities, through the remainder of 2023.  Please help us meet our financial obligations and move into the New Year debt free.  Thank you to those who have supported our work to date.  It’s such a pleasure to share our days with each of you and move through this stage of life, maintaining our hobbies and health.

Stay safe and see you at the Center!

Theresa LaCroix

 

 

Letter from the Director: July-August 2023

We are finally having such great weather and a wonderful dose of sunshine.  With yards growing at

a fast pace, grass and weeds often grow faster than our aging neighbors can manage.  If you see a senior’s overgrown yard, and you are capable of mowing, please take the time to reach out to them and see if they would like you to mow it for them.  You may not be able to commit for the task all summer long but think of the joy you will bring to them, for a few weeks.  We all love a well-groomed yard, so let’s help each other out.

This summer, we are only producing ONE newsletter for July and August.  This will help us reduce costs of printing, as each month our expenditure for printing averages around $1,400, plus we have another $200+ in postage.  Be sure to keep your newsletter in a safe place, easily accessible when you need it.

We have a few instructors taking either July and/or August off and we support their personal care to create a work/home balance in their lives.  We wish them a lovely vacation and look forward to their returning in September.  Do not fear as none are leaving us permanently, simply taking personal time.

To compensate for their absence, we have added some exciting workshops and classes.  Details for these classes are highlighted in this issue.  Fall registrations will begin August 1st and we encourage you to register as soon as possible.

Membership Sale – Beginning July 1st, memberships will be on sale at 50% off.  If you have not taken advantage of the reduced rates for members, this is a wonderful time to do so.  The fee is $20/person or $35/couple.  It is well worth it to receive discounted class and medical service discounts through the remainder of the year.  It will more than pay for itself.

Legacy Bequeath – We are grateful to our dear friend and volunteer of the center, Carolyn Enloe, for the generous Legacy Bequeath she provided the senior center.  Carolyn passed away on July 29, 2022, and this month, we received a $70,000 check as directed in her final will.  The funds could not have arrived at a better time, as our anticipated budget of $640,000 for the year, has increased to $720,000 due to the increase in vendor costs, post COVID.  If you would like to learn more about Legacy Giving, please reach out to us and we can provide information for your legal advisor.  Or pick-up our Legacy Giving packet at the front desk.

State of Finances – The number of grants available to our center have decreased this year.  We continue to work on resourcing additional funding from new sources, but we will require your assistance.  With an anticipated shortfall of $75,000 for the year, we encourage each of you to donate in support of the center.  If each member donated $15/month for the next 6 months, we would reach our goal of $75,000.  Of course, non-members are highly encouraged to donate as well.  Donation envelopes are available in the lobby and can be dropped off to receptionists.  We continue to bring innovative programs for you to enjoy, either free or with very low rates, and are committed to providing the highest level of service.

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion – I would like to extend a special welcome to our friends from various cultures and ethnicities, and the LGBTQ community.  Our staff represents a variety of ethnicities, cultures and religions and we embrace diversity in the audience we serve.  If at any time, you experience an uncomfortable situation, please let me know so that we can address any inappropriate behaviors.

Don’t forget to take advantage of the new programs coming in July and August and we look forward to seeing you at the Center!

 

Theresa LaCroix