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Center needs local support as much as ever
By TRUMAN O'BRIEN
For The Beachcomber
Vashon Community Care, unlike most adult care programs across the country, is owned and financed by the community. For nearly two decades, Vashon residents have supported this important institution, making it possible for island elders to remain on Vashon as they age and providing a place on-island for rehabilitation patients to receive important care.
While VCC volunteers have carried out several successful fundraising campaigns over the years, we are now coming to the community with a new fundraising plan to help assure VCC has a sustainable financial base.
Some may ask why donations are still needed for VCC, especially considering the campaign for the mortgage refinance of 2012. Although the mortgage refinance helped the center’s short-term stability, it did not solve the underlying need for continuous donations.
In 1995 when VCC was created, a promise was made to the Vashon community that no resident would ever be asked to leave because of inability to pay. Today, 19 years later, VCC has kept that promise through the generous support of the island community. When a resident’s personal funds are exhausted, Medicaid steps in to help by reimbursing VCC for a part of the cost of care. For those living in Aspiri Gardens Assisted Living, Medicaid covers only 49 percent of the cost of care. For those in Beardsley Terrace Skilled Nursing, the rate is 70 percent. This difference amounts to a funding gap of more than $1 million per year. It is a testament to VCC’s dedicated staff and volunteers that more than $750,000 of this shortfall was covered by careful management and income from rehabilitation services and other programs last year. For the remaining $250,000 last year and $300,000 this year, we must rely on the Vashon community.
Vashon Community Care’s campaign to refinance its mortgage was very successful and greatly improved VCC’s cash flow, and therefore, short-term financial position. The community was, and is, very generous, and it is much appreciated. While serving on the VCC Development Committee during this 2012 fundraising campaign, I heard a number of our major donors say they were happy to help but they were also concerned about VCC’s long-term sustainability. With our short-term position much improved, we recently could begin thinking about the long-term.
A number of factors affect VCC’s long-term sustainability. One factor is its mortgage. Since the mortgage is guaranteed by HUD, there are restrictions on how funds — particularly contingency funds — are handled. It became apparent that the solution to these issues would be to form a separate nonprofit organization to act as the fundraising arm of VCC. Thus Vashon Community Care Foundation (VCCF) was established.
The sole mission of VCCF is to provide financial support to VCC, both with operational funds and long-term sustaining funds. Our plan for providing operational money is to ask every person on Vashon-Maury Island to make a monthly donation through either a credit/debit card or direct deposit. With short-term operational needs met, the VCCF board can then focus on developing sustaining funds.
VCCF’s goal is to provide a secure future with operational funding through our recurring donation program and build a strong foundation to provide sustaining funding through grants, events and major individual and corporate donors. We have established credit/debit card processing and direct deposit through Our Community Credit Union and will soon establish a sustaining brokered account through Chase investments. We will soon be able to accept stock and property as well as cash donations. The board of directors of Vashon Community Care Foundation looks forward to working with individuals and organizations on the island to reach this important goal.
We are so lucky to have this five-star rated facility on our little island. Let’s work together to close the funding gap at Vashon Community Care to insure we will have it for generations to come.
— Truman O’Brien is the Vashon Community Care Foundation’s board president.