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