Open Heart Advocates seeks funding before doors close March 1
Open Heart Advocates, which serviced more than 21 percent of Moffat County residents in 2019, is in need of funding to keeps its doors open through 2020 and beyond.
In May 2018, the Community Clinics at Memorial Regional Health stepped in to save the nonprofit organization — then called Advocates-Crisis Support Services — from financial ruin, according to Open Heart Advocates Executive Director Meghan Francone.
Rebranded with the Open Heart title in October 2018, the organization has helped turn “victims” into “survivors” in areas such as domestic violence, sexual assault and suicide.
However, despite the impact the organization is making in the community, it’s back in financial peril and facing imminent closure.
Francone, Memorial Regional Health CEO Andy Daniels, and Vice President of Clinical Services Kyle Miller all recently presented at Craig City Council and the Board of County Commissioners meetings in recent weeks, explaining just how difficult it is to keep the nonprofit funded and functioning.
“Right now, it costs MRH 24 to 26 thousand dollars to operate Open Heart Advocates every month,” Miller said at Tuesday’s BOCC meeting. “That number doesn’t include indirect costs and overhead with payroll, HR and finance management.”
Miller said that OHA current has $76,000 in yearly funding, but that number represents just 25 percent of the total agency cost annually.
With MRH in the midst of its own financial crisis, Open Heart Advocates is running out of time and options to stay open through 2020. MRH has agreed to keep the agency — which is providing more services to clients than at any time in its 41-year history — open until March 1 2020, after which time OHA will be forced to close its doors.
“We’ve seen a positive impact directly in the community from our services here,” Francone said. “In 2019 alone, we had contact with 1,646 crime victims, 580 contacts with domestic violence victims, and 39 contacts with sexual assault victims.
“In total, through all of our services, we helped more than 2,800 people; that’s pretty high for this community.”
OHA is currently applying for as many grants as possible, from grants ranging from $2,500 to $250,000, according to Miller.
“We’re doing everything we can to stay open and serve this community, but we need help,” Miller said.