About that Stimulus Money

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I am beginning to hear all kinds of stories about how the stimulus money is hitting the ground out there. Some of it makes me worry and some makes me glad.

Head Start is a great example. Talk about resilient! After being threatened with extinction during an extended reauthorization process, starved with a multi-year flat rate as costs rose, suffering a gratuitously small cut in 2007, and nearly smothered by a progressively mind-boggling array of federal regulations, Head Start programs — a national treasure in my opinion — have finally had their annual allocations increased and are also receiving a chunk of stimulus funds.

Some of the money will allow programs to expand, some to compensate staff at a higher rate, some to address long festering capital needs. And apparently there are as many applications as there are uses for the money, but in its forty-third year this network is still spirited and flexible and driven — and I am convinced that this is in good part due to its commitment to engaging parents both in governance and program delivery.

Here are proven outcomes, civic engagement, community-based entrepreneurism and effective political advocacy! Head Start remains a poster child for the fact that we do not always have to search for something new to celebrate profound innovation and effectiveness in the nonprofit sector.

I guess this is something of a love letter to the many Head Start parents I have met over the years. Great hanging in there and let us know how this next era evolves! We’d love to hear more stories about where stimulus money is going and its uses and misuses. You can comment below.

For those of you who haven’t received a windfall and are struggling with declining revenues, here’s an article that might add to your thinking.

And don’t forget to visit the NPQ website for our latest feature — Nonprofit Newswire, a daily digest of sector news.

  • Sue

    We are a Federally Qualified Health Center and we provide health care services for the uninsured and underserved in our community. Thanks to some stimulus dollars we can serve a high density sector in our county plus we can expand our hours to nights and weekends. Many who need our services lack health coverage and they can be served in our centers. Above poverty pay discount fees. The stimulus dollars will help us assist twice as many consumers.

  • lisa christie

    we are are a human services agency in nashua, nh with a soup kitchen and food pantry among our programs… we receive some funding from the emergency food/shelter program (formerly FEMA) and our county just received an additional $98,000 from stimulus funds in addtion to our annual award.. we will apply for some of those funds to help us ensure we have food to give to the 30% more households we have seen come in since the recession. Daily we see families come to our soup kitchen and food pantry who have never needed to access any services before.