The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

Editorials

July 11, 2014

Laura Lee vital to all

Laura Lee Fellowship House marks its 100th year of serving the Danville community this year, and its leaders also must deal with a serious threat to the agency.

Tough economic times during the past decade or so have rocked many non-profit agencies. Not only have contributions declined to funding programs such as the United Way, but cuts in many governmental programs — a prime source of funding for agencies such as Laura Lee — have hurt as well.

This year, Laura Lee officials did not meet deadlines set by the local United Way and so lost the $45,000 or so in funding. Pastor Thomas Miller, a member of the Laura Lee board of directors, said his group had been working on gathering the required information. “They had stipulations on the things they required,” Miller said in a recent telephone interview. “We had one thing that was not complete, but we had assured them (the United Way board members) it would be done. We were working in good faith. They decided we did not meet their deadline.”

Jeanne Mulvaney, president of the United Way of Danville Area, said the deadline was June 30 and the financial information required on the funding application had not been received by that date. “We look at every application that comes in and have particular requirements,” she said in a story in Thursday’s Commercial-News. Only the applications that meet the requirements are passed along for consideration for funding, she said.

Laura Lee provides an after-school tutoring program and several programs geared toward senior citizens. Its facilities on West Williams Street serve as a meeting place for various organizations as well as serve as host to community functions. A summer prgram was discontinued this year due to a lack of funding.

Thomas said Laura Lee needs about $180,000 per year to continue operation. It leadership discussed their plans in an open meeting Thursday night, and plan to pursue grants and other possible funding sources. A signature fundraising event also could be put in place to help the agency meet its financial goals.

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