As 2022 comes to a close Full Circle Charities is faced with a lot of changes and choices. For the last 25 years Barbara and I have worked hand in hand on all sorts of projects from St Vincent de Paul, Homeless Connects, Saturday Morning Breakfast Club, Full Circle Trade and Thrift, Cash for Local Change, Red Door Auctions, and Full Circle Peoples Pantry. Our roles changed almost seamlessly with each project to take advantage of each of our special talents. It is a partnership forged over 50+ years of marriage and four children. And I believe that was the key to our success. But right after the first of 2022 Barbara suffered a mild stroke and we both spent time in the hospital for the first time in our lives, with the only exception being the birth of our children. We are both on the mend and doing well, but adding our age to that formula makes you question how much of an impact you can continue to have and how much of the time we have left, do we want to give to another project.
Helping Tennies for Tots double their budget and donations this year has been very gratifying. And considering we spent over six month in some sort of recovery mode our success reinforces the principle we outlined in our books. But even that accomplishment is tempered by the fact due to the supply chain issues and inflation the buying power of those donations was cut nearly in half and we won’t be able serve many more children than we did the year before. That means they may need to double it again in 2023, just to stay even. That’s a daunting task, and our plan is to help where we can in the New Year.
In addition Sara Presler’s, former Mayor of Flagstaff, son David has been diagnosed as on the autism spectrum. As anyone who knows her can easily imagine she immediately started educating herself and others, we were blessed to be included, and researching the best possible opportunities to help David. She landed on one of the few nonprofits that provides those services, Arizona Autism Untied. After doing a little research ourselves we think she has found a model all those providing services should be replicating. It acknowledges that the whole family must be involved and they are reinvesting their service fees and donations into expanding the quality of their services as well as facilities and program research.
One in forty children in the United States are diagnosed every day as being on the spectrum and It turns out, providing these services is one of the latest “opportunities” for venture capitalist. The services are paid by the state and devising a system to evaluate service quality is almost impossible. That’s because everyone on the spectrum has different symptoms and reach their individual milestones at different rates. Most services providers have very limited facilities and provide their service at the clients residence, like home health, and pay their home therapists on a per visit basis. It is ripe to be taken advantage of, low overhead, government guaranteed payment , fixed employee costs, and no way to evaluate the services provided. It is easy to see why an investor might be attracted.
We have not figured out exactly how our talents might best be used to help with these issues, but we both feel a strong calling to get involved. At the least, helping to let families that face this diagnosis know there are options out there and rushing into a situation that is not going to give your child the best chance for positive results is not the answer. We also feel strongly that as a community we need to discuss and decide whether our tax dollars are best spent on service providers whose top goals include turning a profit.
Full Circle Charities, has been pretty dormant since our books were released back in April. Whether or not we keep the nonprofit active as well as the website is still an issue we are discussing. But for 2023 helping these groups is our planned focus for 2023. If it is determined we can have an impact on these and other issues without the nonprofit status we will shed those costs and added responsibilities. Our plan is to make that decision before our fiscal year ends in June of 2023 But either way, our sense of how important it is for each and every one of us to become personally and voluntarily involved in helping those who struggle, no matter what the challenge, has never been more vital to making our lives fuller and the world a better place.
Both AZA Untied and Tennies for Tots are Arizona Tax Credit Qualified Charities and more information is available on each of their websites www.AZAunited.org and www.tenniesfortots.org.