Popular programs that benefit both children and senior citizens face a perilous future, as the Rainier Foothills Wellness Foundation struggles in a time of financial insecurity.
The nonprofit organization, which has served the Plateau community for more than three decades in one form or another, survives on grant money and individual donations. Now, a large chunk of its fiscal base is about to disappear and replacement funds aren’t keeping pace.
That’s the dire warning issued by René Popke who, as executive director of the Foundation, is charged with keeping an assortment of programs afloat.
The Foundation has offerings like the Care Van, which provides 250 rides each month to area seniors needing keep any healthcare-related appointment; the Backpack Program, which sends food home each Friday with nearly 300 kids from the five elementary schools and two middle schools in the Enumclaw district; and the Senior Hot Meal Program, which sees six hot meals delivered weekly to senior shut-ins.
Much of the work done by the Foundation is supported by a grant received three years ago from CHI Franciscan to the tune of $187,000. That money will run out in June and the Foundation learned that Franciscan will be spreading its donations throughout its service area — meaning no money for the Foundation during the coming funding cycle.
Looking to fill that void, the Foundation’s board of directors went on the offensive, launching a campaign to recruit dedicated donors. The goal, Popke said, was to secure gifts totaling $4,000 per month; about half-way through the effort, total pledges sit in the neighborhood of $1,800 monthly, she added.
So what happens if the Foundation has to act on the financial pinch?
Popke said options have been discussed and the most likely scenario is an across-the-board reduction in all programs. That is preferable, she said, to chopping something entirely from the Foundation’s menu of services.
For now, Popke and the board are hoping some tough choices won’t have to be made. The Foundation has until the end of April, she said, to continue the hunt for ongoing and stable funding.
HOW TO DONATE
Anyone interested in supporting the Rainier Foothills Wellness Foundation can visit www.rfwellnessfoundation.org or by clicking here to head straight to the non-profits donation page.