12/28/2011 @ 11:15pm
Hello All, I am writing today to make an announcement about Straight Ahead Outreach – Taking back your life Inc., and the future.
First, Some simple facts of reality:
1) Straight Ahead Outreach is small. A micro 501c3 nonprofit. It basically consists of me the Founder, who is also the CEO, Senior Case Manager, food & supplies shopper, Mobile Crisis Unit driver/mechanic and care giver to all we come into contact with and quite simply, the provider of all our services. I do this work full-time with no secular employment. I do not take a wage. In addition there is my fiance Pat and she is the Vice President and she is secular employed, which has enabled me to do this work full-time. However, it has simply placed to much of a financial hardship on us to do so. In addition there are two very part-time volunteers in the Knoxville, TN area who help us help others there. None of us take any wages from Straight Ahead Outreach activities or funds. Pat and I are in the Clearwater/St. Petersburg FL area. We are in Florida because our paying jobs in Knoxville TN dissipated in early 2009 and we had no income coming in and it was the way we funded Straight Ahead Outreach activities in Knoxville TN.
2) We, I, have made myself available 24/7/365 days a year since 2007. We became a 501c3 nonprofit on 1/1/2010. However, Since 1985 – 2007, I made myself available as my schedule and life allowed. The impact has been worth it, but has taken a toll on me, my fiance and my personal life. But for some reason, here we still are.
3) Straight Ahead Outreach does not receive any federal funding, nor do we seek any. We only are able to provide our services when we receive private donations from the General Public or Private Foundations. Currently and since January 2011 – today, 12/28/2011 we have received approximately $1300.00 in total cash donations and we have been unable to put barely any of our own personal funds in like we did last year. With the level and quantity of services we normally provide, $1300.00 is minute and embarrassing to me as Founder. I know I am not good at raising money, and I do not “blow our horn” enough. But, I just do not believe in boasting about what we do all the time, I believe more in simply “doing it”. Last year we put approximately $9600 of our own funds into our roughly $20,000.00 year of activities in 2010. We personally borrowed money this year to put tires on the Mobile Crisis van to keep it on the road. From 1985 to 2008, everything I ever did for the homeless and or suicidals came out of our own personal wages/pockets. This 2011 has simply brought us to our knees, a really bad year. We no longer have funds to provide gas and food monies to our volunteers in Knoxville, TN to operate and help those in need there who call us.
4) On my birthday this last September 19th, the transmission gave out on our 1995 Chevrolet 250,000 mile van which we use for our Mobile Crisis unit, our only vehicle and only personally owned vehicle. Since that day we have been without our own vehicle and or a proper Mobile Crisis Vehicle. Thanks to a friend, we are borrowing her car, but that needs to be returned as it is not ours. So, needless to say, I am unable to get to our Friends In Need like I was able to before. Even if the van was fixed or if we had a brand new one, we do not have the funds needed for fuel as it takes alot of fuel to perform the services we provide.
5) You may ask…well why don’t they receive grants? Grants are easy to get right? No. Much of the grants out there from even Private Foundations are designed for specific areas or “type” of “program”. For instance, we are what I have labeled us…a Mobile Crisis Unit. Ok, well thats easy right? No. You see, most grants cover Mobile Crisis Units because they are for Mental Health/Suicide specifically. Or maybe for a housing program, or education, or transportation or the like. The problem is, Straight Ahead Outreach does it all. We have a different definition of Crisis and Mobile Crisis. You can read about it here.
6) We did NOT have to become a 501c3 nonprofit. Nope, we sure didn’t. The reason we decided to file for nonprofit status was to be accountable to the IRS and to you the General Public. We could have flown under the radar for a long time as long as we stayed under $25,000.00. Heck, as long as an org is under $10-$15,000.00 budget they are still a nonprofit, it is just that the donations they receive “might not” be tax deductible unless they are a 501c3. We wanted to be legit in all ways and accountable.
Ok….so, Basically, I believe you get the idea. We simply cannot continue without the funds or the vehicle to perform our services. AND, I am horrible at raising funds. My work, expertise and concentration is in helping our Friends In Need. I despise the process of raising (begging for) money. You see, we are a real life 501c3 nonprofit. Donations made to us including vehicles, money, property, and more are tax deductible under the full extent of the IRS federal Tax Code.
Sooooo here ya go….the announcement….
***** 2012 ANNOUNCEMENT*****
As of January 1, 2012, Straight Ahead Outreach-Taking Back Your Life Inc., will not be taking on any new clients or Friends In Need. We will discontinue assistance to current Friends In Need and we will discontinue reaching out to those we see on the road as we drive (which is my biggest weakness and call) as I want to help them all. If we do receive donations, they will go first to replace our Mobile Crisis Unit van and to build up a funding pool to help those in need in the way we believe they should be helped and to properly operate, equip and supply our organization. You see, all our donations in the past have gone to help those in need and barely any to the operating costs and needs of our organization. We will then assist those in need on a part-time basis and “as able, when able” basis. Simply, if we do not have the equipment and or supplies to perform our services, the services cannot be performed, the organization, well…..this announcement happens. I know this is not the first announcement you have seen like this in 2011 where a nonprofit no longer has funds to operate. It is a tragedy.
I will assess our organizations viability and if we feel we can successfully secure any Private Foundation grants in order to operate beyond 2012 or if Straight Ahead Outreach needs to be dissolved as a 501c3 nonprofit. That decision will be made by the end of this, our calendar year of 2012 which will be 12/31/2012.
So, there it is. We have done a great deal of work including some things you may not know such as bringing our homeless Friends In Need to our personal home many times for dinner, laundry, showers, fun and also to live with us for 4-5 months at a time covering ALL their needs financially through donations received and our own personal funds.
I simply cannot do this any longer unless we have the needed funds to operate the services. The gasoline for the van is not free, the food we provide to those we assist is not free, the bandages are not free, the tires for the van are not free, the apartments or motel stays we provide for those in need are not free, the water and soap to do their laundry is not free, the storage for their belongings is not free, the printing ink and paper is not free, our cell phones are not free and the cable service for me to run this website is not free. I don’t know, maybe Jesus has a different plan for Straight Ahead Outreach or me for that matter.
I am not here to impress. Straight Ahead Outreach – Taking back Your Life Inc., was not created to impress anyone. It, I and anyone involved with Straight Ahead Outreach are here to help others. Period.
So here ya go, if you want to give to a very serious organization and help save us. That wonderful Donate button (PayPal Secure) follows and is there for you to push and make a donation. We would love to meet anyone who donates and talk about what we do and why it is good for you and those in need. That way you get to know us. ***If we do receive donations, but have not received $15,000.00 worth of donations by 12/31/2012 we will refund all donations.
I sincerely Thank You for taking the time to read this long letter and for any donations you may feel inclined to provide to saving our organization in 2012.
Lance Greene – Founder