By Lasca Randels
WARSAW — Kosciusko County Commissioners heard budget requests from area nonprofit organizations during their meeting Tuesday, June 8.
Kosciusko Community Senior Services Executive Director David Neff announced during his presentation that it’s his understanding that KCSS will be losing one of their greatest sources of funding after this month.
“All the not for profit agencies that are funded by United Way got a letter dated March 5, 2021,” Neff said.
He read a portion of the letter to commissioners.
“At the completion of the current grant cycle, June 30, 2021, United Way is discontinuing its member agency approach to grant making. Beginning in the fall of 2021, United Way will move to an ‘Open Application’ process. The intent is that United Way will outline priorities for funding and nonprofits who address those priorities will be eligible to submit grant applications. More details will be shared in the coming months as they are finalized.”
The intro to the letter states that United Way is taking steps to become a stronger resource for children and families across the region.
“What that means, in my interpretation, is that Senior Services, after 25 years of monthly payments, will not be getting anything from United Way,” Neff said. “We did get some COVID money from United Way and we are very appreciative to past funding of United Way, but it’s my interpretation that come June 30, we will no longer be a partner of United Way and will no longer be receiving monthly payments.”
In 2020, KCSS was approved for $31,203 from the county commissioners. This year, Neff asked for $40,000 and explained the reason for this increase is to try to offset some of the upcoming deficits.
“We have taken a lot of steps to get more money, but there’s no other way to say it…it’s gonna hurt,” Neff said.
Commissioner Vice President Cary Groninger inquired how much funding United Way had provided to KCSS in the past.
Neff said when he first became director of KCSS six years ago, they received $103,000 from United Way. The amount went up to $106,000 the following year but then gradually decreased, with KCSS receiving $50,000 last year.
Groninger asked what other grants or fundraising efforts KCSS had looked into to help offset the loss.
Neff said arrangements have been made with Kosciusko Community Hospital/Lutheran Network in which Lutheran will be paying KCSS $1,000 a month to have advertising “wraps” put on their vehicles. KCSS also received a $2,500 grant from the Grossnickle Foundation.
“I’m out there all the time trying to offset that deficit, but it hurts,” Neff said. “I can’t stress it enough…it’s a huge hit.”
Matt Meersman, director of the St. Joseph River Basin Commission, requested $3,750. The agency protects and improves water quality and mitigates flooding.
Jerry Frush and Greg Steffe appeared on behalf of the Kosciusko Historical Society and requested $25,000. The organization has five paid employees, Frush said, with the rest of the work being done by volunteers.
Kelly Heckaman from the 4-H Youth County extension, introduced Andrew Ferrell as the new 4-H youth development educator in Kosciusko County. The organization requested $44,347.
Matt Boren, who will become executive director of Cardinal Services Inc. of Indiana July 1, requested support for three programs: Head Start, Career Links and KABS, in the amount of $104,980. Boren told commissioners that through support from the state, Cardinal Services recently made “a pretty huge jump in our wage,” paying up to $16 an hour for direct support professionals and $17 on weekends.
Jennifer Hayes, director at The Beaman Home requested $40,000. Hayes told commissioners The Beaman Home is assisting with rent costs for those transitioning out of the shelter and are looking at a possible expansion of the transitional housing program.
Glenn Hall, executive director of Kosciusko Home Care & Hospice, requested $50,000.
“Last year certainly was an interesting year for all of us,” Hall said. “Even in the midst of last year’s craziness, I had two full-time RNs, one part-time RN and somewhere between five and seven aides and homemakers and even in fiscal year 2020, my staff drove over 72,000 miles and made over 5,900 patient visits with that few staff and that’s still when our business was going down.”
Hall said he was able to keep staff employed and actively working during the time COVID was at its height, thanks to support from the commissioners.
In another matter, Purdue HHS Extension Educator Jaclyn Franks provided information in recognition of Million Steppers participants. This is in connection to the “Get WalkIN'” program developed by the Purdue School of Nursing and offered to county employees.
In total, Franks said, over 37 million steps were walked and over 286,000 ounces of water consumed.
Amy Irwin, Brooke Greer, Cheryl McGettrick, Michelle Hyden and Monica Medina-Conde each walked at least 1 million steps during the program and received certificates.
In other news:
- James Allen Horn of Winona Lake was honored as Veteran of the Month.
- Commissioners approved a request from County Highway Superintendent Steve Moriarty for the purchase of two dump trucks at at a cost of $196,742.98 each.
- Kosciusko County Community Corrections Executive Director Barry Andrew received approval for two grant requests, related to drug court and home detention.
- County Administrator Marsha McSherry received approval for the purchase of two stainless steel institutional-type picnic tables for the county jail at a total cost of $6,522.24.
- The next regular meeting will be 9 a.m. June 22.