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February 14, 2013

YWCA program funding plea continues

Clinton City Council moves $53,000 request forward to budget discussion

CLINTON — The latest stop on the Clinton YWCA’s search for funding landed Executive Director Lori Freudenberg in front of the Clinton City Council requesting $53,125 in order to continue programming for sexual and domestic abuse victims.

The agency stands to lose about $240,000 during the state’s shift to a regionalized system for providing victims’ services. Clinton is placed in the southeast region along with Davenport, Keokuk, Iowa City, Burlington and Muscatine. Under the proposed plan from the Iowa Attorney General’s Office, the region would have one shelter, one domestic violence program and one sexual assault program.

Through a thorough budget examination, the YWCA was able to find $140,000 to continue funding the services they offer, leaving a $100,000 shortfall. YWCA officials are trying to raise this money from local government agencies and donations.   

“We know that through this regionalization the community will suffer. The victims we see will not have the immediate response that they have now because of the YWCA. So we have made it our mission to raise this shortfall of $100,000 to keep our services local,” Freudenberg said. “In the last 35 years we have never made such a desperate plea to this committee for this help, but we have way too many people who depend on all of us for this help to escape the violence in their lives.”

The YWCA has already received extra funding from Bellevue, Camanche, Grand Mound, Wheatland and Calamus. They also received $25,000 from the Clinton County Board of Supervisors.

Freudenberg asked the Jackson County Supervisors for a $10,000 funding increase and the Maquoketa City Council for funding as well, but those boards have yet to reach a decision.  

Freudenberg explained the formula she used to determine what she deemed appropriate funds from each entity was based on a $125 per person cost. Of the 801 victims the Clinton YWCA saw last year, 425 of them were from Clinton.  

At-large councilwoman Jennifer Graf recused herself from the discussion because she is the co-chairwoman of the YWCA board, saying that while it was painful not to be able to vote, she must abstain.

At-large c­ouncil member John Rowland was also open, letting the Freudenberg know his hesitation in giving an outside agency funds. Previously, he said, the council would give money to various organizations throughout the community. However, through policy changes over the years, the city has stepped away from this practice.  

“This will open the door for all those other requests to come back that have been cut over the years, I’m sure,” Rowland said. “If they do approve something like this, I think the council has to also realize then that they will be opening the door up to other organizations that have pressing needs just like yours.”

Council members ultimately decided to send the request to the final budget discussion scheduled for 3 p.m. Monday.

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