As an organization whose mission is focused on families, we hope that you and your family are doing well in these challenging times. I feel it is my privilege and duty as the new CEO at Center for Family Services of Palm Beach County, to keep you abreast on how COVID-19 is impacting our organization and the clients we serve. Every month seems to bring new challenges that speak to the vital importance of our mission.
The consequences of COVID-19, along with our nation’s current social and political unrest, have had a significant impact on our families and community. Delayed school openings mean lost wages for our disadvantaged working families, who already struggle to put food on their table and keep a roof over their head. Domestic violence is on the rise as COVID-19 isolates victims at home with their abusers. Child abuse reporting has dropped while children are forced to stay out of school, even though stressors that instigate child abuse are heightened. Uncertainty, fear, anxiety and job loss are triggers causing substance abuse to skyrocket and those in recovery to relapse. There is no break in the storm for those we serve. While the Center has already seen a surge in the need for services since COVID-19, the numbers will only continue to grow as survivors come forward in the coming year.
Our mission is to strengthen compromised families. It’s an honor to do this work that is genuinely essential. We are the safety net that catches children and families before they’ve hit life’s unforgiving rock bottom or to help them rebuild after they have.
Sadly, our budget is much like the budgets of our clients—stressed. The ongoing reality of COVID-19 has necessitated changes in the way we operate. For the safety and wellbeing of our staff and clients, we are conducting therapy sessions through telehealth and utilizing our drive-up window for visually direct sessions.
Reimbursement rates for telehealth are significantly less than that of in person therapy. This makes it near impossible to keep up with general operating expenses without new sources of support. Our need is great.
While we plan to move forward in 2021 with our signature fundraising event, Old Bags Luncheon®, the event will look very different and we are realistic in our fundraising expectations. Previously, over 20% of our total annual budget was raised by this signature event. Participation is important and appreciated as proceeds go towards serving our community’s most vulnerable population. To put it in perspective, from this event alone, we raise enough to provide about 1,600 clinical treatment hours for families in dire circumstances. The conservative efforts we are making to build a COVID compliant, alternative fundraising plan will likely leave us with a budgetary shortfall.
We want to thank you for all the support you have given Center for Family Services in the past. You are the best steward of where your philanthropy goes. I can only put our needs and the value of the service we provide before you and ask for help at this existential time. Please consider giving a gift of general support now.
With you in our corner, we are confident that Center for Family Services and the children and families we serve will get through this.
If you would like to learn more about our programs or discuss your giving expectations, I can be reached at 561-616-1222 or email@example.com. Thank you for your past support and present consideration.
Fabiana S. DesRosiers, Ph.D.
Chief Executive Officer