Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Keeping Hopes Hi

An Atlanta-area nonprofit that serves developmentally disabled adults stands to lose federal funding for meals due to how the federal grant guidelines define the services such a grantee can provide. From the Atlanta Journal Constitution:
Some of the developmentally disabled adults who spend their days at the Hi Hope Service Center in Lawrenceville have been dining for free in the agency's cafeteria since they were children, but that's about to change.

Starting this month, the 46-year-old nonprofit center, which offers training services, work programs and housing for its clients, will lose about $65,000 a year in federal grants. Hi Hope officials say replacing that revenue will require the agency to charge clients $75 a month for meals in Hi Hope's cafeteria. The food subsidy paid for breakfast and/or lunch for about 100 Hi Hope clients.

Other recent cuts in the agency's funds may require the center to assess clients' families other charges for services, Hi Hope's executive director said Monday.

"Everybody is going to have to pay something. At the rate we're going, there's going to have to be an assessment fee," said Alice Cunningham, the executive director. "It concerns me because without doing the assessment fee to families, it's going to be very difficult to stay open."

This is pretty standard nonprofit news fare as nonprofits whose services often depend on receiving such subsidies face budget cuts on the federal and state level. This forces them to pass the expense on to families that may not be able to afford them. What isn't so standard about Hi Hope is why they stand to lose out:
Mentally disabled children who started coming to Hi Hope when it was a school in 1959 are now adults who do part-time work in the center's workshop — putting nuts and bolts together, stuffing envelopes or labeling packages — for less than minimum wage.

The goal of the workshop is to make participants productive people in the work force.

And it turns out that's bad for Hi Hope.

The center has been disqualified from the federal meals subsidy because it doesn't meet the definition of an adult day care center, said Todd Blandin, spokesman for the Bright From the Start, Georgia's Department of Early Care and Learning, which administers the program money.

If the workshop were being used to maintain mental alertness and motor skills and not to train clients for future employment, Hi Hope would qualify for the food subsidy, Blandin said.

"There are guidelines and clear definitions, and based on that information, they're not eligible," Blandin said. "It has to come down to something, otherwise it's just all a gray area."

But the way Cunningham sees it, that means that if the center's clients sat around and watched TV all day, rather than work, they would qualify for the meals subsidy.

"That's the government," she said. "That's the law, so it would be a matter that the Legislature would have to look at."

It's simple. Where the government ought not, cannot, or does not provide adequate social services, it falls to the philanthropic sector to pick up the slack. Often, philanthropy claims that it cannot do this. It's simply not up to the task; the philanthropic sector doesn't have the resources the government does. However, organizations like Hi Hope don't need $2.338 trillion; they need $65,000 per year to serve meals to their clients. That's not out of the realm of possibility for Atlanta's generous.

The following ten foundations are among the biggest givers in the Atlanta area. Contact them, refer them to the story in the Atlanta Journal Constitution, and ask them to contribute to this nonprofit that has been doing good work in their backyard for the past 46 years.

Robert W. Woodruff Foundation, Inc.
50 Hurt Plz., Ste. 1200
Atlanta, GA 30303
Telephone: (404) 522-6755
FAX: (404) 522-7026

The UPS Foundation
55 Glenlake Pkwy., N.E.
Atlanta, GA 30328
Telephone: (404) 828-6374
FAX: (404) 828-7435

Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta, Inc.
50 Hurt Plz., Ste. 449
Atlanta, GA 30303
Telephone: (404) 688-5525
FAX: (404) 688-3060

J. Bulow Campbell Foundation
The Hurt Building, Ste. 850
50 Hurt Plz.
Atlanta, GA 30303
Telephone: (404) 658-9066
FAX: (404) 659-4802

The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation
3223 Howell Mill Rd, N.W.
Atlanta, GA 30327
Telephone: (404) 367-2100
FAX: (404) 367-2059

The Goizueta Foundation
4401 Northside Pkwy., Ste. 520
Atlanta, GA 30327-3057
Telephone: (404) 239-0390
FAX: (404) 239-0018

The Marcus Foundation, Inc.
1266 W. Paces Ferry Rd., No. 615
Atlanta, GA 30327-2306
Telephone: (404) 240-7700

The Coca-Cola Foundation, Inc.
1 Coca-Cola Plz., N.W.
Atlanta, GA 30301
Telephone: (404) 676-2568
FAX: (404) 676-8804

Turner Foundation, Inc.
133 Luckie St., 2nd Fl.
Atlanta, GA 30303
Telephone: (404) 681-9900
FAX: (404) 681-0172

The Wilbur and Hilda Glenn Family Foundation
1201 W. Peachtree St., Ste. 5000
Atlanta, GA 30309

This isn't just a job for big foundations though. Please consider getting involved yourself. Contact the Center:
The Gwinnett County Association for Retarded Citizens, Inc.
Hi-Hope Service Center

882 Hi-Hope Road
Lawrenceville, Ga 30043
Telephone: 770-963-8694
Fax: 770-963-0038


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