The Real Deal on Non-Profits


Hoo boy is campaign season in full swing or what? We have been out-of-breath trying to keep up with moderating our Facebook site as people seem to be taking great joy in expressing their opinions, some of which are true, some half true, and some … well some are just outright lies. Our Facebook page blew up last night when an accusation was made against the mayor. It was proven incorrect and – thankfully – the person who *insisted* it was true finally retracted the statement and apologized.  Remember the saying that perception is reality?  Well guys, perception is NOT always reality. Perception is just how people see the truth and the truth can be subjective. Just as beauty is in the eye of the beholder, some people truly believe that things are one way when in reality they are another.

For example, some people believe that the Earth is only 5,000, maybe 6,000 years old. Yet carbon tests have proven that the Earth is 4.5 billion years old.  The point is people will argue until their last breath about how wrong another person is or a policy is, when the brutal reality is yelling it does not make it right.  It’s better to remain silent and be thought of as stupid than to open your mouth and erase all doubt.

For instance, this comment was posted on Facebook last night while mud was being slung all over the web.

We at This is LaVergne take issue with the accusation that the board is showing favoritism toward the group.  Box 100 is an organization that serves as a rehab unit on behalf of fire, police, and other city departments who are on the scene of emergencies for extended periods of time.  The rehabilitation function is directed by federal protocol managed by Homeland Security and FEMA.  I made a phone call to some of the Box 100 leaders and learned that Rutherford County has approached the organization to provide them with training and services, but because Box 100 is funded by the city of La Vergne (they also do their own fundraising), they are a service dedicated exclusively to the city.  Did we already mention that work performed by members is 100 percent volunteer? They work for free to block roads, coordinate volunteers during major emergencies, provide hydration for police and fire personnel who are facing the elements in the course of their jobs, give them a warm place to rest in the winter and a cool place to rest in the summer, and so much more.

Up to 2010, the Board of Mayor and Aldermen gave $24,000 per year in funding to the organization.  When the current board was sworn in, they made extensive cuts in their non-profit funding and reduced Box 100’s amount to $15,000 in both 2011 and 2012.  This money is used to maintain vehicles, including insurance, fuel, and repairs. Food, water, coffee, and gatorade are purchased to provide relief, particularly if these responders have been on a scene for an extended period of time. But it’s not just the responders who receive help.  Victims of fires, crimes, hazmat situations, weather emergencies, and more… all of these people are aided by the group.

It is natural that members of Box 100 get to know city personnel – whether elected or in other service jobs – because they are often on the scene helping these dedicated workers. If you would like to volunteer your time and give back to your community, Box 100 does need members because they are on call 24/7 and 365 days per year. In fact, these volunteer members responded on Christmas morning to a fire at the gun store giving up that holiday with their families AND on Thanksgiving they were at the side of Public Works while they repaired a major water main line break.

Other nonprofits have also had funds cut, but some funds have been restored. The LaVergne Smyrna Assistance Coalition received $2500 in the 2010-11 budget.  The next fiscal year, that amount was reduced to $1500 because – if you’ll remember – it was the year of reality for the city’s financial crisis.  For the 2012-13 fiscal year, because the city removed $10,000 in funding from animal control since this is already paid by our county taxes, the money became available for other nonprofits. The Assistance Coalition was bumped up to $3500.  The budget for nonprofit organizations, with an increase for the Assistance Coalition, Meals on Wheels, the Child Advocacy Center, and the LaVergne Boxing (designed to help at-risk youth) was approved by a 4 to 1 vote.  Mayor Mosley, Vice Mayor Farmer, Alderman Tom Broeker, and Alderman Sherry Green voted yes.  Alderman Dennis Waldron voted no.

Perception can be reality.  Mr. Waldron is receiving a lot of credit for helping the LaVergne Smyrna Assistance Coalition thanks to television interviews.  Maybe he did help out of his own pocket.  However the reality is that he voted no for funding this organization and other nonprofit groups in the 2012-13 fiscal year budget. I am borrowing this photo from another facebook site that shows how elected officials voted on the nonprofit funding.  Please note anyone can look it up themselves through the city’s web page.

Sometimes reality is reality.

12 comments for “The Real Deal on Non-Profits

  1. Nancy Woodall-Holmes
    October 19, 2012 at 6:25 pm

    I serve as the secretary of SLAC, (Smyrna-LaVergne Assistance coalition). Although I have only served in this position since early 2012, I do have knowledge of the most recent events in relation to SLAC. It is my understanding that when I began volunteering earlier this year, the monies available for assisting the residents of LaVergne was very limited. Being a longtime LaVergne resident myself, I found it very difficult to sit at the interview desk when the sign was put up stating “if you live in LaVergne and are seeking assistance, we are not able to assist you at this time due to not having funds for LaVergne”. I then felt the need to reach first into my own pocket and do what I was personally able to do. I then went to several business owners that I know in LaVergne to make them aware of the dire situation at SLAC as it relates to the LaVergne residents.
    One of the people that I talked to was Dennis ‘Waldron. He suggested that I put my name on the agenda to speak at the next workshop. I did so, and I explained my position at SLAC. I also explained and clarified that all donations that come from LaVergne stay in LaVergne. I was very pleased and thankful to learn that the board voted to increase the grant request to SLAC from $1500.00 to $3500.00. This was a blessing for the residents that come to us who are struggling with whatever crisis may be impacting their lives. Dennis also arranged an interview with a local TV station so that I could get the word out to a larger audience about the need for assistance.
    Not including the LaVergne grant, I was able to personally raise an additional $7000.00 plus, all of which was made payable to SLAC for LaVergne residents only. Although this looks like a considerable amount of money, we have a large number of very humble residents who come to us seeking assistance in the current economic climate. Part of the problem is that at SLAC we assist with both water and electric bills. Although we only assist each client one time annually, and we have adopted a “CAP” amount to help with, many of our residents receive their electricity from NES, as I do. SLAC does NOT receive any grants from NES. In saying this, I am explaining that $10,000.00-$12,000.00 does not last throughout the fiscal year when we try to assist with both electricity and water. We are currently at a crisis point where we have to make the tough decision as to keep our doors open or close down for the time being. We are discussing other options such as road blocks and other fundraisers, however we have a critical special called board meeting this next week.
    My only reason to reply to this is to clarify any misunderstanding, make sure that there is no mistake in knowing how much we appreciate the help that we have received, and to ask for any suggestions as to how we may be able to continue doing the good work that we do for our LaVergne residents.
    I have no direct knowledge about how the votes go when faced with grant decisions. My only concern is how I can personally do everything in my power to help my neighbors. My personal motto is “If you can, you should”. In saying this, I am fully aware that not everyone “can”. But, as Christians first, and simply as human beings, I believe…”If you can, you should”. I try to live and lead by example.
    Thank you for taking time to read my reply.
    Nancy Woodall-Holmes

    • Sarah N
      October 20, 2012 at 8:53 am

      Nancy, what’s the easiest way to make a donation? I was looking for a website for you guys and couldn’t find one. Would you like help setting one up? If you use a platform like Blogger or WordPress it wouldn’t cost you anything.

      • Nancy Woodall-Holmes
        October 20, 2012 at 10:58 am

        Sarah,
        I am not aware of a current website for SLAC at this time. The quickest and easiest way to make a donation at this time would be to mail or take it to the SLAC office which is housed in the same building as the Smyrna/LaVergne Food Bank. We are a legitimate 501c3, so all donations are tax deductible. The physical address is 130 Richardson Street, Smyrna.
        I welcome any assistance in setting up a website, blog and/or WordPress. Also, please know that our board meeting set for Monday, Oct. 22nd at 6:30pm at the FoodBank building in Smyrna is open to the public, so I send to you a welcomed invitation to join us.
        Thank you for your interest in SLAC.

  2. October 20, 2012 at 5:34 pm

    Nancy – any word or thoughts on why Dennis Waldron voted against the increased ammount for your organization?

    • Nancy Woodall-Holmes
      October 20, 2012 at 8:12 pm

      Frankly, this surprises me, if the information is correct. Like I stated earlier, I really have no idea on how votes of the board goes. All that I can honestly speak of is what I personally know to be true. I personally know that Dennis met with and talked to me several times after I approached him with the dire situation that we were facing at SLAC. He advised me to get on the agenda to speak at the next workshop, which I did, and he arranged an interview with a local TV station that was filmed at my home.
      I have known Dennis for many years, and he has always been very supportive of any causes that I bring to his attention. Some of these causes include my involvement with the foster/adoptive care system and CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates). I served as the State President of the Tennessee Foster/Adoptive Care Association for 7 years, and have been a foster/adoptive mother for close to 30 years. This year will be year 20 for me to be the Christmas Coordinator for the foster children in the Rutherford County child welfare system. I was on the steering committee to bring CASA to Rutherford County. Both of these, as well as my involvement with SLAC are volunteer positions. All of these organizations depend on grants and donations to operate, although none of us receive any financial compensation as volunteers. I have gone to Dennis on countless occasions to ask for his assistance, and he has always been willing to assist. I am certainly not a political person, just trying to do what I can whenever I can to help others, whether it pertains to foster children, child advocacy or assisting families in need. I have been blessed in so many ways in my life, even despite being widowed TWO times. I still feel blessed enough to try and share the desire and gifts that I have with other. Like I said earlier…. “If you can….you should”. This is just my personal opinion, not intended to offend anyone.

  3. DJ
    October 23, 2012 at 5:47 pm

    Where does it say here that the vote was to increase money to SLAC? The resolution was much more than that, it was to reduce PAWS contribution, it was funding to about 20 different organizations, some who got more, some who got less than previous years. To say that because he voted against this resolution he was against SLAC is a bit of a stretch.

    • auntyoya
      October 23, 2012 at 9:23 pm

      Not to be argumentative but if the SLAC is included in the nonprofits benefiting from the increase/decrease in funds on the resolution then yea by Waldron voting NO he was voting against them. I’m certainly not into political stuff at all but even I get this and by voting NO it was a slap in the face to every single group on the list.

      • MF
        October 23, 2012 at 9:56 pm

        Read the minutes DJ! He wanted to raise their money but then voted NO! Pretty routine for him wouldn’t you say?? Maybe the others dust want to give to a non profit on there but they went ahead and were team players and compromised!! Something Waldron doesn’t seem to do! Kinda like him saying providing safe drinking water for the city was his top priority and then voting NO on a water contract. Even better asking to put it off until January!! Typical for a GOOD OLE BOY! Put it off until after the election that way if he doesn’t win he leaves a mess for someone else!!!! Woo hoo GO JUNKYARD!!

    • Alan W.
      October 23, 2012 at 10:15 pm

      Not to be argumentative, but you seem to be argumentative. If you read the post, it states: “Mr. Waldron is receiving a lot of credit for helping the LaVergne Smyrna Assistance Coalition thanks to television interviews. Maybe he did help out of his own pocket. However the reality is that he voted no for funding this organization and other nonprofit groups in the 2012-13 fiscal year budget.” The writer did include that he voted no against other nonprofit groups, as well.

      If you doubt that the money given to the coalition was increased, you can look at the city budget here. http://www.lavergnetn.gov/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/Approved-Budget-FY-2012-2013.pdf Page 73 has the nonprofits budgets, including last year’s amount, the request for this year, and the amount given this year.

      I did watch the videos of several meetings where the Board tried to work with the animal control people. They kept saying they would get better but would still not show up for calls involving vicious animals. Would you keep paying someone twice (city taxes and county taxes) who doesn’t do the job you are paying them to do in the first place?

    • October 23, 2012 at 10:24 pm

      DJ as you pointed out he voted against all non-profits getting any money including those that support our emergency personnel. Why would he vote against it and clearly give a reason for it during the discussion or in his alderman comments or anywhere publicly?

  4. October 23, 2012 at 10:25 pm

    correction not give a reason. Sorry forgot one word there.

    • Nancy Woodall-Holmes
      October 24, 2012 at 1:03 pm

      PLEASE UNDERSTAND THAT I ACKNOWLEDGE THAT SLAC DID RECEIVE AN INCREASE… IT WAS PREVIOUSLY $1500.00 THEN RAISED TO $3500.00. OUR SINCERE THANKS TO THE BOARD FOR THE “YES” VOTE!!!!!

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