SU Garden Planted!

Last week we planted our new vegetable garden here at the main building.  This was the culmination of more than a year’s work of planning, seeking donations and preparation of the area.

We extend many thank you’s:  Ralph Feken for the donation of soil; Streator High School for plants; Ball Seeds for, well, seeds; The SU Foundation for funds for equipment and other needs; our intrepid team of planters; project coordinator Melanie Ensign; Mike Cinnamon for tilling and more; donations of plants and tools from people in the community and board members of both the SU and SU Foundation Boards of Directors.

This will be a learning year for us as we see how well different things grow for us.  We’ll be providing training opportunities for our consumers and will discover their interests as well.  In the future we hope to continue to take this messy, unused area and create a beautiful green space, with some wheel-chair accessible garden beds, shelter and outdoor furniture, and flower beds.

Historical Perspective on State Budget

DD Community Funding Decisions Thru FY10

The ARC of Illinois has prepared this graph which demonstrates, in funding crisis years or no, the shortfall of funding in the State of Illinois for community-based services for people with developmental disabilities.

To have a 1990 dollar’s spending power this year you would need $1.70.

For state institutional services that 1990 dollar in funding is now $2.01, well ahead of the cost of living.

For community services that 1990 dollar in funding is now $1.35, getting further and further behind, despite the fact that community-based services are the best practice and are a much more cost-effective way to spend state dollars.

How often in life is the best way to do a thing also the cheapest?

SU Foundation Annual Fund Drive

Here is the SU Foundation’s fundraiser letter. If you need a paper copy, donation slip, or anything else just reply to this email.   Checks can be made out to   Streator Unlimited Foundation Inc. PO Box 706 Streator, IL 61364

Dear Streator Unlimited Supporters,

The Streator Unlimited Foundation provides opportunities to Streator Unlimited’s consumers above and beyond everyday needs. Your voluntary contribution makes a huge difference. Please give generously to achieve our annual fund drive goal of $15,000!

We have frequently been asked the question, “How is SU doing?”  Perhaps you have the same question.  Here’s the good news and the bad news:

Good News:  We have maintained our dedicated and loyal staff.  Keeping good staff means offering stability and understanding for people with disabilities.  We have not had any employee layoffs.

Bad News:  We have not provided any raises for two years, have doubled the employee insurance contribution, reduced the 401k match from 3% to 1%, reduced staff hours (and thus wages), and eliminated our Christmas gift to staff.

Good News:  Charitable gifts and fundraisers have helped cover expenses in spite of state-funding cuts and late payments.

Bad News:  The state-funding situation isn’t changing and could be worse next year.  The proposed budget includes elimination of all workshop program funding and a 2.5% cut to everything else.  The state also plans to wait even 1.5 months longer than they are now to pay us.

Good News:  We remain committed to our mission of excellence in service to people with disabilities.

Bad news:  We cannot continue with business as usual.  The current economic and state funding conditions have impacted how we provide needed services.  We have a growing waiting list for our workshop program.  All paid time off for consumers was eliminated.  The residential food budget was cut 20%.  Recreational and community outings have been sharply curtailed.

Good News:  Your help is more important than ever!  There are many ways you can support our services to people with disabilities:  a generous gift to this fund drive, including SU in your will, donating stocks or other property which have appreciated in value.

Please support our continued services during this fund drive.

Sincerely,

The SU Foundation Board of Trustees:

Anthony Enno Jr

Janet Spies

Dorothy Black

Jan Fitzsimmons

Jamie Middleton

Ralph Hermann

Near to a FY11 Illinois State Budget

Illinois looked at from a national perspective.  Fiscal Martial Law coming?  Why would you pay bills when you’re out of money?

At this point things look worse than the proposed “doomsday budget” from last year.  There seems to be some compassion fatigue towards human services, and little knowledge of the economic value and cost efficiency of community-based services.

Regardless, we’ll soon know what kind of disastrous budget cuts SU will be facing.