As Affirmations community center manages a sharp demand for youth programs and services, the center is also dealing with the loss of $30,000 in annual support from Chrysler.
With other LGBT service organizations having to eliminate weekend hours of operation, Affirmations has become the only LGBT space in metro Detroit for youth on weekend days and evenings. To meet this need, Affirmations has voiced a need to hire a full time Youth Services Coordinator, but continued budgetary cutbacks have limited their ability to do so.
In addition to the loss of support from Chrysler, as well as the announced loss of $50,000 in support from General Motors earlier this year, Affirmations’ 2009 $40,000 grant from United Way of Southeastern Michigan is in jeopardy. Donations to UWSEM fell far below projections last fall, leaving the agency with fewer funds to disperse to organizations like Affirmations. “We know the community wants Affirmations’ vital programs and services to continue and we continue to be creative with our efforts and welcome new partnerships,” said Affirmations CEO Leslie Ann Thompson. “On any given Friday or Saturday evening, we have met the needs of over 100 youth who show up at our door. Every attempt is being
made to maintain service levels to meet community demands.”
Due to financial shortfalls, six part-time and one full-time staff have already been laid off, senior and management staff took a 10-percent pay cut, and 16 open hours of operation were eliminated in January. Effective April 15, an additional full-time staff member was laid off.
Pending decisions with UWSEM and other donors may force Affirmations to make additional budget cuts.
Given the recent additional cuts, Thompson is imploring the community to give whatever they can to help Affirmations stay afloat. “The downturn in the economy has affected us all,” said Thompson. “Unless the economy – and giving patterns – change quickly, more cuts may be inevitable. We’re looking for everyone who can make a difference to do so, by making a financial gift.”