Effort to raise money for nonprofits begins
Residents asked to fast for two days and donate their food money
Help is on the way for the nonprofit agencies whose budgets are set to take a hit next fiscal year because of reductions by the Frederick Board of County Commissioners.
Jonathan Switzer, pastor of Evangelical Crossroad Valley Chapel in Frederick, is organizing a two-day fast, June 16-17, to help raise the money cut by commissioners in the $448 million operating budget for fiscal 2012, which starts July 1.
"I think at the end of the day, we as the City of Frederick and Frederick County as a whole feel it is our responsibility to take care of the needs of the most needy," Switzer said. "This is a once-in-a-lifetime, when people on both sides of the political aisles and backgrounds can come together."
Switzer said the idea for the fundraiser came after meeting with faith-based leaders concerned over the funding cuts. They are planning to hold a formal announcement on the effort at noon on Thursday at the amphitheater on Carroll Creek across from the C. Burr Artz Library in downtown Frederick.
To help eliminate an $11.8 million budget deficit in fiscal 2012, commissioners cut funding to 28 nonprofits and humanitarian agencies. Commissioners also stated throughout the budget process that government should not fund nonprofit organizations with taxpayer money.
In fiscal 2011, which ends June 30, the 28 nonprofits and humanitarian agencies received $861,560. But commissioners cut that funding to $556,491, a loss of 35 percent.
Frederick 48, the name given to the two-day fast effort, is asking residents to donate the money they would normally spend on food, June 16-17, and give it to 14 of those agencies The Religious Coalition for Emergency Needs in Frederick County, Mental Health Association of Frederick County, Salvation Army, Seton Center, St. Vincent De Paul, Advocates for the Homeless, Alzheimer's Association, Cakes for Cause, Daybreak Adult Daycare, Emmitsburg Early Learning Center, ARC of Frederick County, Community Action Agency, Villa Maria Associated Catholic Charities, and Hands On Frederick.
Residents looking to participate can go to www.frederick48.org for information. Donations can also be made directly on the website. Checks can be sent to either of the nonprofits or the United Way of Frederick County.
The website also includes a list of residents, religious congregations and county officials, including all five members of the board of county commissioners, who plan to participate.
Commissioners' President Blaine R. Young (R) said he will fast. "I?think this is excellent," he said. "I even offered them time on my radio show."
Young, who hosts a conservative radio talk show on 930 AM WFMD, said he predicts that this community campaign will raise more money for the nonprofits than what the county could have given them.
"I think there will be more awareness on what they [nonprofits] do," he said. "I?think they do worthy things in our community. I think they do wonderful things. But I do not have the authority to forcibly take money from the taxpayers and give to the nonprofits. I just think that is wrong."
Young said he financially supports many local nonprofits with his own money. He also points out that next year's operating budget allocates $10 million for various programs that help the needy and low income.