Social service agencies that rely significantly on the state of Illinois to fund programs that help Illinois’ most at-risk residents are in a precarious situation.
The state currently owes service providers about $8 billion, and that amount is expected to grow to $10 billion by the end of the year. After going all of the past fiscal year without an approved budget, the Illinois General Assembly passed a six-month budget for this fiscal year that projects to spend $8 billion more than the state receives in revenue. Add onto that state public pension systems that are underfunded by more that $110 billion, and we have a fiscal situation in Illinois that at best can be described as dire. Yet in McHenry County and across Illinois, there are thousands of residents who need help. People with mental health issues or intellectual and developmental disabilities. People who are homeless. Those who are addicted to drugs or alcohol. Victims of domestic violence. And more.
In order to adequately fund much-needed programs to help these at-risk populations, social service agencies are going to have to rely more on the generosity of the communities they serve.
That’s why it’s important for residents, business owners and the like to give back through donations. One way to give back is to support the United Way of McHenry County, which provides program funding for 26 local nonprofits that do excellent work.
The local United Way is hosting its annual breakfast campaign kickoff on Wednesday, Sept. 21, at the Crystal Lake Holiday Inn. Breakfast is served at 7:15 a.m., with the program starting at 7:45. If you want to learn more about how you can support local nonprofits, RSVP by Sept. 9 by calling 815-363-1377, or emailing email@example.com.
• Dan McCaleb is a member of the United Way of McHenry County Board of Directors and executive editor of the Northwest Herald. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @Dan_McCaleb.