RAD director optimistic

Despite the loss of its biggest funding source, the Recreational After-School Doorway program will endure.

At least Director Diane Gould is 99 percent sure it will.

The Colorado Trust grant that has kept the program going for nearly five years ends this year and a replacement grant wasn't approved.

It will be hard to continue the program that serves fifth- and sixth-graders, but it won't be impossible, Gould said.

The RAD board of directors met Wednesday night, and though the board is not ready to release its plans, Gould said she's optimistic about the future.

There are currently 172 students registered for one or more of the 24 after-school "classes" RAD offers. Multiple registrations means that the organization serves more than 350 kids a week.

"We're doing some amazing things right now," Gould said. "To see this go away would just kill me."

Gould started the program more than four years ago using a $50,000 Colorado Trust grant. The five-year grant reduces by $5,000 each year, but remains a significant portion of RAD's $100,000 annual budget. The Colorado Trust also sponsored several RAD programs, so Gould estimates the organization will have to find nearly $50,000 to make up for the loss.

She had hoped that a $50,000 anti-bullying grant would make up the difference, but that request was not approved.

"That was something we were pretty much counting on," she said. "(Losing the grant) was a huge, huge blow. We thought for sure we'd get it since we collaborated with the school district."

RAD has 12 smaller grant applications pending and there are other options available to continue the program, Gould said.

"Good things can come from this if people just work together," she said.

RAD isn't the only non-profit program that's having difficult sustaining itself.

Grand Futures Prevention Coalition is waiting to fill a vacancy for a director in Moffat County pending program evaluations, but Sandra Visnack, director for the Routt County program, said there will be a local staff person.

"We are in the process of hiring a new director for Moffat County," she said. "In order to be successful, we went through an extensive process that has helped us best identify skills and experience necessary for that position in Moffat County. We are hopeful that the community in Moffat County supports our organization through this transition and welcomes a new director once he or she is hired."

Grand Futures started with a $350,000-per-year grant for five years to serve three counties. It has managed to sustain a $300,000 a year annual budget, but with several smaller grants as opposed to one big grant.

Instead of offering grants to other organizations like it did in the beginning, Grand Futures is now pounding the pavement for money like many other non-profits.

"Now we're on the other end where we're going to foundations and other organizations for the money to try to run our program," Visnack said.

Grand Futures is working to develop a more diversified funding plan to ensure the organization can continue to provide necessary services and programs in Northwest Colorado even when the federal and state grants run out, Visnack said.

In the meantime, former Grand Futures director for Moffat County Cindy Biskup is still working to keep some programs alive.

Grand Futures was one of the sponsors for Monday's drunk driving prevention exercise held so that high school students could "experience" the loss of control drinking creates. Students wore goggles that simulated alcohol's impact and drove a golf cart through a series of cones.

Christina M. Currie can be reached at 824-7031 or at ccurrie@craigdailypress.com.

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