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McHenry County Mental Health Board Eliminated Our Funding

As you may already know, we were informed on October 30th that the McHenry County Mental Health Board (MCMHB) has reduced Garden Quarter Neighborhood Resource Center’s organizational budget by 74% by choosing to eliminate our funding. This funding is used to provide year-round prevention services to some of the most at-risk youth in our community; in addition to education, we also provide emotional support and referrals for mental health and other basic needs services to their parents.

As we have received funding from the MCMHB since January of 2010 as an independent organization, have consistently met or exceeded the grant expectations and have maintained a very positive working relationship with the organization, we were shocked to be informed via email that our funding was entirely eliminated effective December 1, 2014 with no stated reasons. The MCMHB Interim Executive Director, Lyn Orphal, had previously stated in the Northwest Herald on July 29, 2014 “We’re not cutting any funding, period. It’s staying the same for what it was in 2014” when asked if the Mental Health Board would be maintaining its funding levels for all its agencies. Unfortunately, this has proved to be untrue for the Garden Quarter Neighborhood Resource Center to the detriment of the youth and families we serve. While we have been quite successful in diversifying our organization’s funding, such a substantial deduction in funding with only one month’s notice is something that will cause our services to be greatly reduced or quite possibly eliminated in the next few months.

Your Outpouring of Support was Overwhelming

We cannot say thank you enough to all of our supporters. We are so grateful that so many of you have taken the time out of your day to advocate for our organization, students, and families. Our inboxes were flooded with letters of support from all corners of the community. Connee Meschini, president of the Mental Health Board was overwhelmed with letters from our supporters.

Many of our supporters stood with us on Thursday, November 6th during the MCMHB’s meeting to finalize their funding decision. We were so honored to have Susan Low, Mayor of McHenry show her support as well as Police Chief John Jones’ passionate words on his support for our families. They were two of many who came out that night to show their support.

The Mental Health Board Board of Directors Voted to Keep their Decision

We were given one more week to appeal this decision by sending a letter to the Board presenting the reasons why we believe they should reverse their decision and renew their support for our program for (at least) another year. We have submitted a formal letter outlining our response to the Board’s reasons for denying our funding as well as providing an overview of the services we offer and our vision for the future. We now await the final decision which will be made at their November 18th meeting.

They Will Most Likely Deny Our Funding or Reduce their Support Drastically. We Need Your Help.

Even if we do receive funds, it will most likely not be for the full amount and there will be a break in the continuity of funding. If denied, our MCMHB funds will no longer be received after November 30th. Please consider supporting our programs with a financial donation. We are hoping to raise enough money to keep our doors open for at least one more month. This will give us the time to seek other sources of funding and create a sustainability plan so that services will not be cut to the students and families of McHenry.

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