Community Non-Profit Engages Donors Via Social Media To Save Programming

Solutions for People, a popular and effective non-profit for at-risk teens in Santa Barbara County, begins a direct solicitation campaign via social media to preserve programming in face of budget crunch.

Santa Barbara County Supervisors predict a four percent increase in property tax collection, but with every department requiring more money for their services, and a last minute financial liability being uncovered in one department, prospects are grim for many of the local non-profits when it comes to finalizing their budgets. One Lompoc-based agency created to help at-risk teenagers and young adults is pre-emptively acting to sustain the services they already provide, even as they begin a capital campaign to build a new, centrally located service center to continue their mission.

“In the 12 years we’ve been operating as a 501c3 non-profit, and the 14 years before that as a community support center, we’ve helped hundreds of children and teenagers turn their lives around,” said B. Williams, founder and director of Solutions for People. “We’ve been fortunate enough over the years to have strong community support, but the lean years of the recession have affected everyone, and we cannot afford to slip back.”

Since first founding his organization 26 years ago, Williams has focused on a hands-on approach to help give as-risk young adults the opportunities that would not exist otherwise. Through mentoring programs and internships, Solutions for People has put these kids on the path to graduate high school – many times the first in their family to do so – go on to college and create successful careers in the world of business, finance, politics and other fields.

This year the need is greater than ever as Santa Barbara County faces questions concerning the upcoming budget. A report for the county’s finances as of March 31st showed a surplus of $274,000, but county Budget Director Tom Alvarez said that total did not include $2.7 million in liabilities for one of the departments.

“I just have to say I find this all unbelievable," 3rd District Supervisor Doreen Farr said, shocked that this information was just now released. "I can’t believe we’re trying to find millions of dollars.”

Fifth District Supervisor Steve Lavagnino said it was like waking up and getting hit in the head. "This is less than a month away from budget hearings. We have to make a hard decision about what we’re going to fund knowing that we have another $2.8 million that we don’t have anymore.”

Williams has already begun a major fundraising campaign to finance a new building. To be located downtown where it can serve the most people as well as serve as an anchor for a re-emerging city center, the Cultural Youth Academy & Family Support Center will continue the programming they have been running for the last quarter century while also creating ways to help parents become more involved in their children’s lives.

“We have three goals that we are dedicating to meeting, and the first one, $100,000 is the most crucial and pressing one,” Williams said. In order to eliminate as much bureaucracy as possible and allow people to donate directly to the center, Williams has partnered with the popular crowd funding site, GoFundMe. This way both current residents who want to help out their city and county as well as those who grew up there and want to give back can do so. The partnership between Solutions for People and GoFundMe means the money can be donated safely, going directly to the organization, and the donors will be able to take the tax break for the donation.

“We’ve helped so many people,” Williams said while leading a workshop at the current Lompoc Community Center. “We can’t afford to lose any ground now.”

For more information on Solutions for People and the cause, visit www.facbook.com/solutions4people and to donate, please go to the crowd funding campaign: www.gofundme.com/solutionsforpeople


**Jack Terry is a freelance writer who focuses on community activism and non-profit charities.

Contact Info:
Name: Jack Terry
Email: Send Email
Organization: Solutions For You
Website: http://www.gofundme.com/solutionsforpeople

Release ID: 84390