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Your Support is Required, and Much Appreciated!

              “I’m so happy with Spectrum.  Where I used to live, I had no choices.  Now I make more decisions for myself.  I am ordering at restaurants by myself, I answer the phone at my house, make my own appointments.  I have a more natural life!” (Barb)

Dear Friends,

Spectrum Society reached a major milestone in 2012, celebrating 25 years supporting people with disabilities to build good lives in community.  Thank You for all the support and guidance you have provided over the years.  Our supports have expanded from a single four-person home in East Vancouver to a whole range of home and community supports to over 150 people, from the Sunshine Coast to the Fraser Valley.  We continue to receive calls every week from people looking for creative, individualized solutions to their needs, and many who are already served by Spectrum want to explore changes to their support arrangements as well.  In the past four years, half of the people served by Spectrum have made changes to their living arrangement that have given them more flexibility, choice and control over their lives.

I am writing today to ask for your support as we look ahead to the next 25 years.

The challenge

About 95% of Spectrum’s funding comes from the provincial government via contracts for direct service.  The remaining 5% comes from fundraising, including donations from individuals and community partners, and grants for special projects.

Funding for direct services is not keeping up with increased costs.  We must look carefully at where we allocate time and resources for anything beyond our core services – for example, social functions and training events; or sponsoring people with disabilities to attend a conference; or the extra time and hours needed to explore different support arrangements with individuals and families.  We know that investing in these kinds of activities is important to you – the problem is, that money is getting ever scarcer.

That’s where fundraising comes in.  When we can count on your monthly contributions as part of our budget, we know we will have the ability to respond when needs arise.  Unfortunately, donations to Spectrum have not been growing.  Individual donations and contributions to our monthly giving program were both down in 2012 over the previous year’s amounts.  This trend may reflect the troubles in the broader economy, affecting families and communities across the Province, just as it is affecting Spectrum’s bottom line.  Nonetheless, it poses a very real challenge and limits our ability to plan with any certainty for future needs.  Did you know that more than half of our current monthly donors are employees of Spectrum?  Their financial contribution reflects a commitment above and beyond what they give of themselves every day in their work, and for this we are truly grateful.

Over the past five years, we have been increasing our leadership in community living across the Province.  I’ve been leading a coalition of non-union agencies across B.C. to secure equitable funding for wages and benefits.  Susan Stanfield and Aaron Johannes have been presenting workshops to families and self-advocates right across the Province, from Grand Forks to Fort St. John, and bringing back new ideas to our Spectrum teams.  In addition to this ongoing advocacy work, our two social enterprises, Spectrum Press and Inclusive Learning and Research, have doubled their revenues over the past year and anticipate further growth in 2013 with the addition of four new books to our catalogue and several consulting projects in the works.  We were thrilled to be selected for a $15,000 B.C. Ideas Award in December 2012 for a project on Community Mapping, one of many exciting projects that will be led by Aaron Johannes and Shelley Nessman this year.

For 2013, our fundraising priority is to expand our donor base and establish a solid fund for community support needs from donations.  Specifically, our fundraising targets for 2013 are as follows:

1.      Increase monthly donor revenue by $3,000/month, and
2.      Increase total annual donations to $100,000.

How can you help?

1. You can sign up for Spectrum’s monthly giving program.  For as little as $25/month, you can help Spectrum stabilize our budget and give us the flexibility to respond to unique individual and family needs. An online PDF form is available here. 

2. You can increase your monthly gift.  Your regular contribution provides Spectrum with the ability to plan activities throughout the year. Use the online PDF form.

3. You can write a cheque now for a donation to Spectrum Society.

On behalf of my two co-directors, Susan Stanfield and Aaron Johannes, I thank you for your support.  Together, we can ensure the sustainability of Spectrum Society for the next 25 years and beyond. If you have any questions, write

Ernie Baatz, Executive Director