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How is CASA/LA doing? In January we begin a round of strategic conversations to refine our direction for the next 3 years as we continue to be-come more volunteer-centric and grow service levels to ultimately reach as many as 2,500 children a year. Imagine that, CASA/LA providing 2500 children with an advocate all their own!

So, how are we doing so far this fiscal year? I’m happy to report that with your help our fundraising is going very well. The year end appeal is in full gear and foundation grants are growing as projected. Corporate and legal initiatives are underway and the board continues to grow with Dr. Anissa McNeil as our latest addition. At this mid-point in our fiscal year we are already over 70% to goal with about $500,000 still to go to meet our fund raising target of $2.0MM for FY2012. Every effort we make to bring in needed dollars is critical. If each of us asks just one more person to support CASA’s work it will make a difference. For the past two years we have had the luxury and good fortune of relying on previously– raised federal earmark dollars to the tune of $800,000 in FY2011 and $700,000 in this current FY2012. With the new fiscal year starting in July 2012, for the first time in over five years, CASA/LA will have no federal earmark money with which to anchor its budget. We need to make up this difference!

This makes every dollar we raise now more important than ever; any surplus we create this year will anchor the next.

The Board of Supervisors (BOS) is considering making a one-time investment in our technology infrastructure to help us bridge this gap. We’ve had conversations with every board office requesting $250,000 from each district, which equates to a total request to the BOS for $1.25MM. Kudos to Bruce Herron, Jeremy Davies, Delphia Jones and others who have led this charge. Please contact your district’s supervisor and thank them for sup-porting CASA’s request!

Private dollars must become a bigger part of the pie for CASA/LA. Given such high levels of past government support, historically only about 10% of CASA dollars in LA County came from individual donations even though nationally, 80% of all philanthropic dollars are in fact generated from private individual gifts. We need to build private giving to CASA from 10% to well over 50%. Our strategic conversations in January will help us refine our plans for getting there. I look forward to hearing from you all.

Special thanks to those who have personally given, and to those who have asked others to support our work with children in the dependency system. We all know what a difference it makes to provide a child with a caring adult. Let’s make sure that the rest of our community knows and joins us in support.

On behalf of all those we serve, please accept our deepest gratitude for making a difference for children in our community. Happy holidays to you and yours. May the season shower its joy and blessings on all the people of this earth.