May 19, 2011; Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | Nonprofits in Pittsburgh know who their friends are. They're among the 100 people who answered a call from the Pittsburgh Foundation and United Way to turn out earlier this week for a rally in the city's Market Square to challenge Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett's proposed funding cuts to nonprofits in the state.
Instead of just questioning the rationale for making budget cuts to save money, rally organizers wanted to deliver a message to the governor that the state "shouldn't be cutting programs that work," said Bob Nelkin, president and CEO of United Way. Protesters were particularly concerned about looming cuts to early education programs and services that help abuse victims and low-income families.
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The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that Gov. Corbett wants to slice $38.6 million from Head Start and Pre-K Counts, two Pennsylvania pre-kindergarten programs. "These are not numbers on a spreadsheet," said Michelle Figlar, the executive director of the Pittsburgh Association for the Education of Young Children. "These are our children."
The budget also eliminates $6.3 million, or the total amount in state support, for community-based family centers. Elaine Harris-Fulton, chair of Community Voices, said that the loss in funding could force the centers to trim services or close their doors, and at a time when services are in great demand due to the poor economy. Like others at the rally, Harris-Fulton asked, "In a time when people are in need, why cut what works?"—Bruce Trachtenberg