In light of current economic standing, nonprofits find new ways to boost budget
May 10, 2011
OPINION By JACQUELINE DELANEY
With the current state of the economy, everyone is tightening their belts. From large corporations to privately owned small business to the average Joe next door, the gripping effect of the downturn in our economy can be felt far and wide. It’s no secret that businesses have cut back as Americans are spending less and the loss of jobs and a sense of security set the population at unease. In times like these it is easy for our attention to shift solely on ourselves and forget about those around us that are in need of help. On the contrary, during these tough economic times we must continue to help community members while also helping ourselves.
Large budget cuts for the state of California mean that funding for valuable organizations is in danger. In San Luis Obispo county alone there are almost 2,000 nonprofit organizations listed. For many of these organizations a reduced budget allocation can threaten its entire existence.
In light of this, many nonprofits are coming up with creative new ways to create revenue and enhance what may be slim budgets. One such organization is OPTIONS Family of Services, a local nonprofit based out of Morro Bay. For six years OPTIONS has held the OPTIONS Music Festival in Avila Beach. Headliners include greats like ZZ Top, Jackson Browne, and Crosby, Stills, and Nash; this year will be no exception as Sheryl Crow is set to take the stage.
Yet with all the excitement surrounding such an event it can be easy to forget the purpose and deeper meaning behind it. The goal of the concert is two-fold, it serves as a major fundraiser for OPTIONS while also getting the community involved and giving them a chance to see firsthand the wonderful services that OPTIONS provides to those in need.
OPTIONS was founded in 1984 by Mike Mamot, whose previous experience as a Special Education teacher gave him a deeper knowledge and understanding of those with special needs. It became a dream of his to start a place where those with special needs could grow and flourish in a caring, supportive environment. That dream became a realization when OPTIONS was founded in 1984, and its core principle has remained unchanged through all the years – with respect and support, people with disabilities can achieve their goals of living and working independently as full citizens of their communities.
What once began as a group home for special needs adolescents twenty-five years ago, has since grown into a larger family of services offering residential living, transitional living, and supported living services as well vocational services and community integration services. It can be argued that the good that OPTIONS does for our local community cannot be accurately measured – OPTIONS has touched the lives of hundreds of special needs adults as well as their families.
Without OPTIONS there would be numerous families in our local community without the resources to care for their own. An organization like this doesn’t just do good for one individual, it changes the lives of many whether it’s the special needs adults themselves, or their family, or the professionals that care for them on a daily basis. OPTIONS itself is a special organization, one that must not be ignored by the community.
It is important that organizations like this continue to receive the funding they not only need but deserve. OPTIONS provides a beacon of light for those in our community who might not have the resources available otherwise. Now more than ever is the need for community support and involvement, and what better way to do so than through the OPTIONS Music Festival in Avila Beach. Not only is it guaranteed to be a great time, but it will help out a truly great cause.
It will be the support of the community that really sets this year apart from the previous festivals. OPTIONS is an amazing organization that does more than just provide services to those in need, it truly changes lives.