Persevere: “to persist in or remain constant to a purpose, idea or task in spite of obstacles.” (American Heritage Dictionary) This definition clearly defines this past year in the world of Community Action. Despite the challenges, we have continued to meet our purpose of helping local families and seniors become more self-sufficient. We have generated new and improved ideas of doing more work with fewer resources. We have taken on each task with diligence and determination knowing how many people count on us to be there for them. Although many obstacles remain in our path, we promise to persevere.
As a non-profit organization, we have historically been dependent on grant sources from federal and state entities. Many of these grants have remained intact, but the majority has been flat funded. This means we are receiving the same amount of funding for several years despite that the cost of conducting business has increased. This too has not stopped us. We have sought out new opportunities within our communities to increases services. We are preparing grant applications to initiate or expand programs. We enhanced fundraising efforts and increased our donor base by 21.2% more people and 54.4% more contributions.
I am confident in this agency’s ability to persevere. Our Board of Directors is committed to leading this agency to continued success and is supportive of seeking out new opportunities. Our staff is devoted to the people we serve and continue to provide quality services. Our communities are dedicated to collaborations which provide valuable partnerships enhancing everything we do. Please stand with us as we stay strong, vibrant, and continue to offer a helping hand.
Jill Sutton, Executive Director
This past fiscal year has been filled with challenges, frustrations, and concern as we have endured the uncertainties and fragility of federal and state funding. It has tested our patience and stamina to ride through the storm of legislation and decision making that could support, cripple or end the services so dear to our hearts. There were moments when we truly didn’t know if it would be time to close our doors or limit the services that support our vulnerable customers.
Although it has been difficult, and the future continues to be unclear, we have gained some valuable education. We have learned the ultimate level of teamwork as we made plans to streamline services and expenses. We have found ways to consolidate staff positions and activities to use the strengths of our employees at their greatest levels. We have created sustaining partnerships to enhance our service delivery. We have developed innovative plans to capture new opportunities and directions for the agency. We have learned to carry on in a time of change.
I am extremely proud of the staff and Board of Directors as we took on the challenge of survival and found ways to persevere under stress. We are beginning to see the calm after the storm and funding is slowly being renewed. Although we remain without funding increases, we continue to offer quality services to people in need. We grow stronger and more confident each day and will continue to strive for success in all that we do. Thank you for your on-going support of our agency as we celebrate our 45th year of “helping people, changing lives.”
With warm regards,
Residents in our local communities have received tremendous support this past year from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). The agency has been able to offer unique and enhanced services meeting critical needs of our customers. We were fortunate recipients of nearly $10 million in ARRA funds supporting programs from 2010-2012.
The stimulus funding has allowed us to significantly expand Weatherization creating more energy efficient homes saving residents needed cash; emergency services were expanded to include assistance with medical, dental, and optical care, back to school, heat and utility, foreclosure prevention, food assistance and specialized services for area veterans and college students; and, our homeless programs were expanded to stabilize more people who need a place to call home.
The timing of this funding was extremely helpful, as the fragile economy introduced us to a different population of people known as the “newly poor.” These are folks that have typically held jobs with decent wages, but have now found themselves without employment or at risk of foreclosure. The majority of these new customers state that they “have never asked for help before.” Therefore our customer base has grown and fortunately our funding has stayed in tune with the needs.
Our Michigan residents continue to demonstrate resiliency as they await a statewide recovery. May we hope that the ARRA funds have held them over temporarily or created new long-term solutions allowing them to move towards self-sufficiency.
Jill Sutton, Executive Director
Community needs can vary from town to town, family to family, or person to person. When planning our programs and service delivery, it is critical for us to remember these differences. This past year, we have completed several exercises to ensure that we can meet the needs of our communities to the best of our ability.
Every three years, we conduct a comprehensive Community Needs Assessment to evaluate the needs of our consumers—this was completed in 2009. We asked them directly for input as well as gathered feedback from our partner agencies and area leaders to provide the most inclusive viewpoint. Secondly, we are finalizing an agency-wide Strategic Plan. Information was gathered from administrative and program staff and the Board of Directors. They viewed our current programs, outcomes of the Community Needs Assessment, and developed specific goals for our future. Lastly, our departments conduct assessments of their services throughout the year to identify program participant’s needs and develop their services accordingly.
Through a comprehensive approach of assessing community needs, we are able to align our services accurately and efficiently. This was the key to planning our fast paced growth this past year as a result of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. We were fortunate to receive significant increases in funding, but had to determine how to best use the funds for our local area.
We will continue to strategically plan our services and evaluate the effectiveness of our programs. If you have suggestions to offer, please feel free to let us know by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for your on-going support as we continue to enhance the lives of our consumers by providing resources and opportunities promoting self sufficiency and successful futures.
Jill Sutton, Executive Director
To me, quality means finding the way to best serve our communities; helping as many as we can despite worsening economic conditions and tighter funding budgets. I am proud to say that Mid Michigan Community Action has been able to widen its impact during these difficult times.
In program year 2008, MMCAA made strides in three strategic goals: food assistance, building consolidation, and early childhood programs.
The acquisition of a 16,000 square foot building will provide a permanent home for our commodity and emergency food programs while leaving room for future expansion.
The agency successfully consolidated six buildings into one location ultimately saving the agency significant operational costs. This move included relocating the agency’s administrative operations, county outreach, and three early childhood classrooms.
To better meet the needs of the Early Head Start families, the program changed to a home-based model. This provided families with more individualized services and a better fit with their busy schedules.
Along the way, we continued to provide services to thousands of families and seniors, providing food, housing, homeless support, preschool experiences and a wealth of emergency services.
The progress that has been made in an effort to reduce poverty in our communities is representative of the cooperation between our staff, the board of directors, local leaders, partner agencies, volunteers and all of those that have found a way to support this effort. It is my sincere hope, that through continued partnership we will be able to help our community back onto the path of self-sufficiency.
Gary W. Gilbert, CEO
2007 has been a landmark year in the history of Mid Michigan Community Action. It has been a year of triumph in that we assisted 50 homeless individuals and families into stable housing, and we witnessed the culmination of five years of planning and work with the opening of our office facility and three new classrooms.
The agency continues to make progress in the fight against poverty despite the worsening economic conditions in the state, which is making life even more difficult for the “working poor” in our communities. This is a testament to the mission and vision of Community Action.
Through the efforts of staff and volunteers we were able to reach over
20,000 households with $10 million in services. These numbers give a sense of overall impact, but they fail to measure the personal impact: the gratitude of our customers, the support we receive from the public and the satisfaction employees receive from helping others.
As we look into the future, we know the road is not easy--times are hard in mid-Michigan and critical funding is more difficult to come by. However, we remain confident that through the continued cooperation between Mid Michigan Community Action staff, volunteers, local leaders and community partners, we can make a lasting impact in our communities.
Gary W. Gilbert, Executive Director
1574 E Washington Road
PO Box 768
Farwell, MI 48622
2300 E Ludington Drive
Clare, MI 48617
337 Lemke Street
Midland, MI 48642
14330 Northland Drive
Big Rapids, MI 49307
240 E Church Street
Reed City, MI 49677
878 Jefferson Street, Suite 2
Muskegon, MI 49440
907 S State Street Suite 102
Hart, MI 49420