Archive for Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Leavenworth County United Way drive critical for Alliance Against Family Violence

September 8, 2010

Kay Andersen knows which hat fits her best of those she wears as executive director of the Leavenworth County Alliance Against Family Violence.

“I’m a really good social worker,” she said. “I’m just not very good at asking people for money. I find it difficult.”

Nonetheless, a visit to the agency’s Web site, www.aafv.net, reveals how critical the fundraising efforts are for the agency.

The site lists the services Alliance provides, including the north and south county shelters, counseling for victims and abusers, referrals, support grounds, protection orders, relocation assistance and a 24-hour crisis line. But there is also a message on the homepage explaining the agency’s needs to raise $9,852 a month, or $1.60 per county resident a year, to keep the program going.

Alliance is one of the agencies receiving money from the annual Leavenworth County United Way campaign. And although Alliance does its own fundraising and has major events with its annual golf tournament and motorcycle poker run, the United Way money is needed and comes with a benefit.

“It’s somebody else who markets our program,” Andersen said. “I appreciate that, because it lets me do my job.”

And the money is becoming more important as the agency experiences cuts of federal and state grant sources. The agency’s 2010 budget of $780,000 was $120,000 less than the year before.

“The last few years, we’ve gotten a lot of cuts in our funding,” Andersen said. “Last year, we had to layoff five people. We’ve never had to do that before.”

Moreover, the government grants can’t be used for many of the services the agency provides, said Anna Ferguson, the alliance’s assistant director.

“Grants can be used for salaries and building rent,” she said. “We’re responsible for all food, clothing and utilities. That all comes through donations.”

The same recession that has forced cuts to government grants has also dialed up stress that can lead to domestic violence.

“We served 1,106 victims last year,” Ferguson said. “Our numbers are running higher this year. We’ve seen a demand for different kinds of services — counseling, children’s advocacy, protection orders. Our shelters are full.

“We’re also seeing a demand from people who had been in the shelter, who moved and were doing well, but now need assistance for things like food and school needs.”

Moreover, a 2008 agreement with Leavenworth County District Court to provide assistance with protection orders increased the alliance’s caseload from 100 protection orders to 290 with no additional funding or staffing, Ferguson said.

Volunteers are also important to the agency, and she said she would welcome the help of someone skilled in fundraising, Ferguson said.

To learn more about donating time or money to the agency, vi

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