If any program or organization is going to thrive, it must have adequate and reliable funding. Funding for the Center comes predominately from four sources:
- State allocated funds for disabled students;
- Local government discretionary money and other grants;
- Private donations;
- Special events;
The most complete, consistent and reliable source of funding for the Center comes from state budget annual allocations designated for the education of California Community College disabled students.
The California Community College Chancellor’s Office provides leadership and allocates state funding to the 109 community colleges and 72 community college districts in the state.
Funds allocated to disabled students are categorical. That means they are designated solely for that use and go to cover the excess costs of providing special services to those with exceptional needs. DSPS categorical funding is spent on providing direct student services.
The amount allocated to each college is determined annually by the Chancellor’s Office based on several factors. The amount allocated is determined by an accountable statistical process that is objective and predictable allowing for local planning. Roughly 10% of the total state community college student body benefits from DSPS funding and services. The factors that go into the total allocation include:
- Unduplicated headcount of DSPS students.
- Weighted student headcount, which is determined by the amount of service required to accommodate disability type.
- Special Class FTES (full-time-student-equivalents)or the amount of the district’s general apportionment that is produced by student attendance in special classes. This is measured in units of FTES.
- College Effort, which is the voluntary contribution of funds to support DSPS expenses that come from the district’s general fund.
This amount allocated per student differs for each college. The state law authorizing and regulating these programs is Title 5 of the California State Code. If a college is interested in replicating the Center’s program, the DSPS coordinator needs to be an integral part of the process.
Local governments in Santa Cruz County have been providing funding to the Center since its founding. Funding since 1985 has been closely tied to the Human Care Alliance, an alliance of non-profit agencies, that works in concert with local governments to provide a community safety net. The HCA works with local jurisdictions each year to assure the continuation of the funding stream. The Alliance has also helped establish a common application that is used by all local jurisdictions. This greatly simplifies the annual application process. Local government funds, especially county funds, are usually committed from year to year by state and federal regulations and obligations. There is very little discretionary money available. But, for those thinking to replicate the Center’s program, meeting regularly with local elected officials and participating in local governmental affairs can be very beneficial to all concerned. Funding, advocacy, and community involvement for students are but three of the reasons to establish and maintain a mutually supportive relationship.
Donations, (cash, equipment and services), from individuals, service clubs, churches and businesses are common. When an agency has been a part of the community for over 30 years, many residents have friends and family or know people who have friends and family who have benefited from the Center. So, requesting donations does not require a lengthy explanation. But, even a new organization that is meeting a need that residents understand, can immediately begin to build a substantial donor base.
Substantial assistance has been given to the Center through bequests.
The largest amount has been $400.000.00. At one point during lean economic times, the College eliminated funding for summer school. A student, Norm Lezin, invited his friends to join him for lunch at the Center, and requested a substantial check from each at the table! He completely funded summer school that year.
Expensive items and equipment have been donated. The Center’s car, which is used for field trips, was donated by a local family, whose children had left for college. The high-tech toilet/bidet combination units in the men’s and women’s restrooms were a donation from the the local Elk’s lodge. Major repairs to the roof, floors and heating system have been done at cost by local businesses.
The Center’s Auxiliary is composed of community members and former staff, who are able to solicit donations from different parts of the community. Their major fundraiser for many years has been a table setting event. Members of the community come for an elegent luncheon and view inspirational table settings prepared by local businesses and artists. Much of the major remodeling and improvements to the Center have come from the Auxiliary’s fundraising and volunteer efforts.
Perhaps the most gratifying and most important source of private donations come from the consistent small donations of students and their families. These are given freely and often and they are usually unsolicited. They are a source of gratification and empowerment for students. They are a way of sharing and contributing to the common good. The amount may be small, but gains are significant and widespread.
Special Events are another source of funds that involve students in a way that assists in their rehabilitation process and become a source of healing. Students have made ceramic heart pins and refrigerator magnets that have been sold in local businesses. The fountain at the entrance to the Center was designed and fabricated by students. Local donors participated by “purchasing” decorative tiles that acknowledged them by name.
The largest annual special event is a bowling fundraiser. Local businesses and philanthropists sponsor teams of student bowlers and student bowlers collect pledges from their families and friends. The event is fun and provides a wonderful example of how a common sport can be made accessible to all. As much as $30,000.00 is made in a single day. And the publicity that accompanies the event is priceless. Detailed information on how to organize a similar event is available upon request.
Funding has also come from federal and foundation grants. The Center has benefited from local private family foundations that have been matched with the Center by the Community Foundation and the Cabrillo Foundation. Pharmaceutical companies and major private foundations are other potential resources for those interested in replicating the Center.