Spreading Our Wings and Tightening Our Belts

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Mary Faithfull, Executive Director

If you are still looking for us on Shoal Creek Blvd., we suggest you head a few more miles north on Mopac to 2222 West Braker Ln., because after 23 years, we have moved! You can just imagine the effort it took to sort through more than two decades’ worth of items and move the furniture, files and office equipment of more than 40 employees. But we did it, and we are here, and we are enjoying the newness of it all.

And the greatest thing about the move? We are saving money. Since Disability Rights Texas (DRTx) owns the land and facility, we can control one of our biggest expenditures. Our mortgage payments and operating expenses are now significantly less than monthly rent for the same amount of space. And our monthly payments will remain the same over time, where rent can be expected to increase.

This kind of major cost reduction is vital in these challenging economic times when individuals, companies and non-profits have had to tighten their belts to stay afloat.

DRTx receives most of its funding from federal government sources, so even a small federal budget cut impacts the number of people we are able to assist. In fiscal year 2012, we were honored to serve 3,761 people with individual advocacy or legal assistance, provide information and referral services to 7,930 people, distribute materials to 27,340 people, and hold 231 education and training sessions for 8,546 attendees.

Fortunately, we know we will be able to continue providing services at this level for the next few months because our funding will remain level until at least March 1, 2013. But following that date, we expect to see anywhere from a 2 to 8 percent reduction in our funding. In anticipation of these cuts, our board of directors and management team wisely created this year’s budget with decreased expenditures in mind. Thus the strategy to save money by owning our own office space. We’ve also been able to increase funding from non-federal sources by securing grants for special projects and services that have successfully advanced the rights of Texans with disabilities.

Though disability rights organizations have made great strides over the past several decades, people with disabilities too often are still facing obstacles of discrimination and ignorance that keep them from experiencing full and equal participation in society. DRTx will continue to think outside of the funding box to find new opportunities to support the vital work that we do.