|By Steve Suroviec, President and CEO
A charitable non-profit corporation like Achieva is constantly thinking about financial resources to sustain its mission and provide high-quality services. Achieva has done well over the years diversifying its service offerings so it isn’t overly dependent on revenue from any one particular service, yet even with a diverse array of services Achieva’s primary payer is the state government. This issue has been discussed numerous times before in this newsletter, but it’s repeated often because it’s such an important reality. Disability service providers like Achieva are charities first and foremost, and they rely on the rates established by the state to cover the costs of delivering disability services. Unfortunately, the state rates don’t change very often, and when they do the increases are usually insufficient. In my last CEO message in March, I pointed out that Governor Shapiro’s first budget proposal was disappointing when it came to funding for people with intellectual disabilities and autism (ID/A). The General Assembly is now debating whether to adopt the Shapiro budget or make improvements. People with disabilities, their families, and their advocates are relying on the legislature to fix the budget and add to the ID/A budget so disability service providers like Achieva can attract and retain high-quality direct support professionals (DSP), fill DSP vacancies, and curb high DSP turnover rates being experienced system-wide.
As mentioned, government-set rates never keep up with inflation, and so charities like Achieva rely on the generosity of its supporters to fill gaps and provide services not covered by the public sector (e.g., advocacy and family support). To that end, I want to thank everyone who attended, sponsored, or donated items to Achieva’s “Pittsburgh Promenade” dinner and auction last month. Financial resources raised support for several facets of Achieva’s mission, especially its advocacy and family support services. The number of attendees and sponsorships increased from last year, and we hope that’s a sign of good things to come in future years as we continue to rebuild the promenade after having held the event virtually for several years during the pandemic. In particular, I wanted to give special shout-outs to our largest sponsor, Capital Group, as well as the McDowell Family Fund of the Pittsburgh Foundation, which matched dollar for dollar the first $10,000 in donations during the event’s live “fund the mission” appeal. The Pittsburgh Promenade is Achieva’s largest event of the year, and its success wouldn’t be possible without everyone who attended donated items, bought raffle tickets, or volunteered! Thank you!
Looking forward, there are other ways you can help Achieva pay for advocacy services and family support, as well as fill funding holes resulting from poor government rates. For example, you can support Achieva affiliate Autism Connection of Pennsylvania by purchasing a ticket to attend “A Magical Connection” on Saturday, April 29. Enjoy a casual night out at Tonidale Pub in Robinson Township. Contributions raised will fund assistance for families seeking resources, development of inclusive, sensory-friendly areas across Pennsylvania, first responder training, virtual and in-person workshops, school homeroom and assembly talks about hidden differences, educator and administrative training, justice system reform, and so much more. (It’s not too late to buy a ticket.) You can also support Achieva by participating in the upcoming Highmark Walk on Saturday, May 13 (all routes are accessible for wheelchairs, electric scooters, and strollers!).
As always, please feel free to contact me with questions or feedback. Thank you for your support of Achieva’s mission!
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