Grant Application Entries
Guthrie Opportunity Center Foundation Inc.
900 Nutter Drive
Bardstown, Kentucky 40004
J. Richard Heaton
LIFT TO TRIUMPHANT
Our Organization provides vocational training and employment to adult developmentally disabled people in Nelson County. We partner with local schools whose special education students continue as state supported students to the age of 21 or 22 years. We transition these students after their senior year with vocational classes at the Guthrie Center, thus providing them with skills to be employed after they age-out of the school system. Due to space constraints at the Guthrie Center, the TRIUMPHANT program is located on the second floor. Our Fall enrollment includes two students in wheelchairs and we have no way to get them to the classroom. We need the proposed lift, estimated to cost $25,000+ to make this program accessible to all disabled students.
The Guthrie Opportunity Center is located in Bardstown Kentucky. We have an 85,000 square foot warehouse occupied by our programs and our partners Communicare At the Center, we employ intellectually & developmentally disabled (IDD) people at several enterprises: piece work from local distilleries and factories; a bottling line known as “ReBart”; OnTheGoFoods (OTGF), which is a retail food service outlet; recycling for the City of Bardstown; A Greenhouse and Gardening program and at another location, a seasonal retail produce & nursery outlet. Our TRIUMPHANT program feeds IDD students to these community employment opportunities. In order to effectively implement this program we need a lift to include physically challenged students in the program. Our need is immediate: schools are scheduled to reopen in Nelson County on August 25th. It will take time to install the lift, so we must push forward on this project. We have applied to other organizations for funding, including the Truist Foundation. Your contribution will supplement our own funds and grants from other donors to install a wheelchair lift to the TRIUMPHANT classroom.
We primarily serve Nelson County which has a population of 46,233. We also serve clients in Bullitt, Washington and Marion Counties. We currently serve 100+ people at the Guthrie Opportunity Center and have placed numerous people in community employment over the years. Our population is made up of all cultural, economic and educational levels. We serve a racially and ethnically mixed population. Currently we serve 10% African American, 5% Hispanic, 1% Native American and the rest is Caucasian. 100% of the people we serve have intellectual and developmental disabilities.
We have three paid Administrative staff members: CEO, Executive Director and Programs Director. In our businesses we employ a Chef and two managers at OTGF plus 6-8 IDD employees. ReBart bottling employs 10-14 IDD workers and the City Recycling program employs two IDD people and the Greenhouse/Gardening program employs 1 manager and 4-8 IDD employees during the planting and growing season. Country Gardens, our retail produce and nursery, operates seasonally and employs 3-4 non-disabled workers and 4-6 IDD people.
The primary mission of the Guthrie Opportunity Center Foundation is to support intellectually disabled people in the community through vocational training and work opportunities. Our goal is to develop and establish new vocational opportunities for existing clientele and to increase the number of intellectually disabled individuals that can be served by the programs. Our objective is the enhancement of the lives of our IDD population through meaningful work and salaries.
One of your foundation’s stated goals is to “assist in improving standards of living and opportunity among the poor, sick, unfortunate and vocationally handicapped” in the State of Kentucky. Our programs are perfectly aligned with your purposes. This specific project, TRIUMPHANT, serves the intellectually and developmentally handicapped population by transitioning Special Education students ages 18-22 to a meaningful employment and careers to the fullest of their abilities. By achieving our goals, we allow IDD people in our community to develop their full potential, become contributing members of our community and develop the pride that comes from meaningful work. Your investment will help create access to the seminal training our IDD participants need to achieve their goals, as well as yours and ours.
Most of our IDD participants are ambulatory. However, we learned from our local school that there will be two physically handicapped students in the next TRIUMPHANT class. Having just created and furnished a suitable classroom space on our second floor, and after reviewing all space at the Center to determine that we cannot locate the program on the first floor, we realize that we need some form of access to the second floor classroom. A wheelchair lift is the solution to this dilemma.
No. We partner with Communicare for programmatic services: they provide mental health and social services and supervise much of the work done at the Guthrie Opportunity Center. We believe that our organization is the only one providing vocational training and developing opportunities for employment to the IDD population of Nelson County.
Our board is made up of prominent community members, civil leaders, business people, professionals and entrepreneurs. We are able to call upon the talents of our board to create business models for profitable and self-sustaining businesses which employ IDD workers. By providing the vocational training of TRIUMPHANT to Special Education students, we not only prepare them for future employment, but we reach this population and their families with information about our programs and employment opportunities. We believe that the talents, experience and knowledge of our contributing board members makes the Guthrie Center unique in Nelson County.
The proposed wheelchair lift project will allow all handicapped people at the center to access the second floor learning space, as well as the Administrative offices which are located on the second floor. The success of this proposal will result in the installation of the wheelchair lift and its use for years to come. This project will continue serving the population at the Guthrie Center far into the future.
The TRIUMPHANT lift will continue to serve the student and handicapped population for as long as it exists. We regularly maintain our equipment to the highest standard and spend between $20,000-$25,000 annually on building and equipment repairs and maintenance. The proper maintenance of the lift will be including in our routine maintenance schedules.
We do not charge for our services. The work we do is for the betterment of the IDD population and our community. We do not receive reimbursement for our work from any source. It may be possible in the future to obtain reimbursement for our TRIUMPHANT teacher salary from the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation, but at this time no reimbursement has been received.
Our 2016 capital campaign utilized the service of professional fundraisers. We raised $2 Million to purchase the building we are located in. We paid the fundraiser approximately $35,000. This was a one time expense. During 2019, 7.7% or $49,824 of our budget was categorized as “fundraising expense”. Almost all of this amount went for our annual fundraising gala, Bourbon & Bubbles which raised a net income of $152,161. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, this year’s gala has been cancelled although we will hold an online auction. For 2020, we are projecting fundraising expense of $20,000 assuming we are able to hold our annual gala virtually.
40% of our operating budget of $440,000 goes for Administrative salaries and payroll taxes. Administrative salaries represent 26% of our revenues. However, our administrative staff also supervise our retail food business, OnTheGoFoods with revenues of $540,000. While we do not allocate overhead and administration costs to OTGF, doing so would reduce our percentage of administration costs to operating budget to 15%. Our Administrative staff consists of only three positions: CEO, Executive Director and Program Director. Considering the management of OTGF, these three Admin people are responsible for managing assets of nearly $1.2 million.
We have not applied for grants from your Foundation in the past.