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Grace Network revenue running below budget
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Donna Proctor, executive director of Grace Network, stands inside Grace’s food pantry. Proctor said Grace is running about $32,000 below its budget for the year. (Bulletin photo by Mike Wray)

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

By PAUL COLLINS - Bulletin Staff Writer

Grace Network’s revenue/support is running about $32,000 below budget, an official said recently.

Grace Network’s fiscal year is from July to June, Executive Director Donna Proctor said. From July to December 2013, Grace Network budgeted receiving a total of $189,095 from contributions from such sources as churches, corporations and businesses, civic groups, individuals, and grants. For that period, Grace brought in a total of $156,858, which is about $32,000 below budget, Proctor said.

Donations from congregations were down about $19,000; $60,640 was budgeted for the period and $41,523 was taken in, according to figures Proctor provided.

Donations from businesses and corporations were down more than $2,000; $17,500 was budgeted for the period and $15,400 was taken in, according to figures Proctor provided.

Grants were down more than $3,000, according to figures Proctor provided, but she said that may be a timing issue. For example, grants may have been approved but “maybe the money hasn’t come in,” or maybe the money came after December, she said. A total of $24,360 in grants was budgeted for the six-month period, and $20,984 came in, she said.

As for churches, if the trend in donations continues, donations from congregations will make up less than 30 percent of Grace Network’s support this fiscal year, compared with 35 percent last fiscal year and 41 percent the year before, Proctor said.

She said she believes many member churches are struggling with their budgets, and “there’s not much left over.” She said she believes, “Churches are giving us what they can.”

As for the current budget shortfall, Proctor said, “We still have some money banked (a reserve of more than $120,000), but it’s not going to last forever,” Proctor said. “If we continue at the rate we are going, we will be in the red before the year is out.”

But she pointed out that Grace Network’s board reviews its finances every month and decides whether to make adjustments.

If the overall trend in support continues, Grace Network’s board may have to make some difficult choices, Proctor said. The choices could include making it tougher to qualify for assistance or limiting the amount of assistance given, she said.

If the current trend in support continues, eventually, she said, it would “come to a point we will have to cut services,” she said.

Proctor advises the public: “We need people to continue to remember when we hear about the economy getting better and corporate profits soaring, that’s not true for many people. Lots of folks are suffering, at risk for being hungry, homeless, having their power turned off.”

Recently, Proctor said, a woman who appeared to be in her 40s or 50s came to Grace Network on a day its office was closed. The power to the woman’s home had been turned off, and the temperature outside was in the single digits that day, Proctor said.

“I had to tell her we were closed,” Proctor said. “My heart went out to her.”

“We have a lot of middle-aged adults who come in here with no jobs, or disabled,” or needing help for other reasons,Proctor said. “We have families (come in) too.”

“Every day we open the doors (when the office is open), there are a dozen to 18 individuals representing families looking for help,” she said.

Grace Network provided $330,716 in services for 4,078 clients from July 2011 to June 2012, and $344,348 in services for 4,485 clients from July 2012 to June 2013, according to fact sheets Proctor provided.

Assistance provided by Grace Network in fiscal year 2012-13 included utilities/fuel (54 percent of services), $185,036; food (29 percent), $98,713; housing (15 percent), $52,416; and hygiene items (2 percent), $8,183, according to a fact sheet.

Proctor makes this appeal to the public: “Search your heart in helping families in crisis. Please consider Grace Network as a recipient for any charitable dollars.”

Grace Network is working to get more grants and building partnerships with businesses, foundations and agencies, according to Proctor.

Even though revenue/support to Grace Network is under budget for the first six months of fiscal year 2013-14, “our (client-choice) food pantry is in really good shape,” Proctor said. She attributes that to more people specifying that their contributions go to the food pantry, and she encourages the public to keep up the giving.

Among the items especially needed are personal hygiene items (such as toilet tissue, toothpaste, laundry detergent, soap, deodorant) and more expensive food items such as beef stew, peanut butter, cereals, bottled juices, canned meats like tuna, Proctor said.

“We ... buy the essentials, (such as) canned vegetables, beans and rice,” Proctor said.

In addition to the services Grace Network provides, it is a portal for people seeking energy assistance through Appalachian Power’s Neighbor to Neighbor Fund, which is administered by Dollar Energy, according to Proctor and Appalachian Power’s website.


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