Money Crunch Puts Future Of Local Non-Profit In Jeopardy

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ATHENS, Ala.(WHNT)-A local non-profit group that provides financial assistance and other aid to struggling families is warning they may soon have to shut their doors for good.

Officials with the Athens-Limestone Family Resource Center told WHNT News 19 that they’re currently on pace to run out of money by the end of December, and need $65,000 to stay afloat through the end of the current fiscal year.

The FRC recently learned its monthly rent would no longer be covered by Limestone County Commissioners due to belt tightening, the latest in a series of financial setbacks that have put the group’s future in limbo. FRC leaders acknowledge that they’re still receiving $20,000 per year from both Limestone County and the city of Athens, but say it’s no longer enough. FRC Director Sarah Chadwell lobbied local leaders for more aid during a meeting at the group’s facility in downtown Athens Tuesday morning.

“This year it’s a little tighter than years past,” said Chadwell. “What I’m asking of the city and the county is to please give me this year to develop other relationships, to develop more secure financial footing, because the community does want us to stay…I hate to think about it [shutting down]. It really concerns me. I’m concerned we’ll see an increase in homelessness, crime, domestic issues, it will be sad.”

In past years, funding appropriations by the city of Athens and Limestone County covered fifty percent of FRC’s budgetary expenses, with donations by private entities and individuals covering the other half. Chadwell said she has not had success in soliciting private funds this year, but acknowledged the group may need to be more proactive. Local churches are covering the group’s $1,000 monthly rent fee for now, but the city of Athens continues to pay for expenses. Officials said the bulk of FRC’s expenses are salaries for four workers and office costs.

“It’s how can the community best provide those services, without coming to taxpayer-funded money,” said Limestone County Commissioner Ben Harrison, who stated that decreasing revenues were forcing county government to make tough budget choices. “The trend is to come to the big pot of money, and that’s the first source. We need to get more community involvement, individuals involved in helping their neighbors, and not depend upon the government to do that.”

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