As many Alaskans know, Best Beginnings took a major body blow with a 66 percent reduction in state funding for the fiscal year that began July 1. For the current year, Best Beginnings is receiving $320,000 from the state, down more than $600,000 from previous years.
Best Beginnings is tackling the challenge in several ways, among them:
- We changed how we support Early Childhood Partnerships. Best Beginnings will continue to work with these community-based groups, which do great work to support young children and their families, but cannot provide funding at this time.
- We prioritized our work and reorganized who does what, based on the skills and talents of our small workforce, reduced to 3.5 full-time positions. Best Beginnings’ staff are multi-talented, committed, and up to the formidable challenge.
- For the first time, we held fundraising events – a benefit performance by sound effects master Fred Newman and a First Ladies’ Tea. Both were successful in raising money and introducing more Alaskans to the important work of Best Beginnings. We’ll continue to aggressively pursue contributions from the private sector and individuals.
Best Beginnings is not out of the woods, financially. Please do what you can and spread the word to help us continue this important work.
In the meantime, Best Beginnings continues to support Imagination Library across the state and advocate on early childhood issues with partner organizations.
Throughout the budget process earlier this year, supporters came out in droves with their testimony and personal stories conveying the importance of the work we all do together. The level of support was astounding – even Alaskans testifying about other issues said “oh, yes, and fund Best Beginnings, too.” Without discounting the significance of the cut to Best Beginnings’, there is a silver lining: Best Beginnings clearly has a high level of ‘street cred’ – and many, many more Alaskans are now aware of the work and its importance.