Founders Article

By March 11, 2016News

BIG things ahead…
North County leaders making it happen!
Who does Solutions belong to; you the people, or the government?

There are so many very exciting things going on at Solutions for Change lately that it’s tough to pick just one to talk about, so here are four:

– After years of planning and fundraising our Escondido expansion hits a gigantic milestone next week as all the parties come together to sign the final documents and officially close the deal-which means its official now-Escondido, here comes Solutions for Change!
– Our new and improved Solutions Farms reopens after tripling in size, making our farm the largest aquaponics farm in the entire State of California!
– The long hoped- for strengthening of our Board of Directors, (think of it like getting the ultimate power-up in your favorite game) with some huge rock star corporate business leaders joining us; sleeves rolled up and ready to take Solutions into a new frontier.
– And after years of being invited by other communities to replicate our model outside of San Diego, we’ve decided it’s time for our Solutions Institute to spin up and start sharing our innovations with others (more to come on this soon)!

Of course none of this would be possible without the incredible leadership here in northern San Diego. The Mayors of the cities of Vista (Ritter), Carlsbad (Hall), San Marcos (Desmond), Escondido (Abed) and Oceanside (Wood) have been out front for many years, championing the Solutions personal accountability model. Supervisor Horn, who has been with us from the moment we launched in 1999 has been a significant force in our success, especially lately championing Solutions Farms and standing with us as we decide to walk away from federal funding that is counter to our core values. And then there is the cadre of private sector champions and philanthropists like Mark King, Kathy Issa, Bob Baker, the Schnell’s and so many more who are joined by companies like TaylorMade Golf, DEI Holdings, the Alliance Healthcare Foundation, Lawrence Welk Foundation, Genentech, Watkins Manufacturing, Wells Fargo, and the list goes on and on…

There are so many positive things happening to the organization that you’ve come to know and love as “Solutions”. All of what we are today and what we promise to be in the future is due to the people of northern San Diego County. You made us into who we are. And because of that fact what I say next I hope will make you sit up in your chair, because it is perhaps the most important thing that has happened to us ever in our history because it threatens our very existence.

There are people in DC and Sacramento who think they know how you, and how we here at Solutions, should solve our communities’ problem of family homelessness. So much so that they have decided to exclude Solutions from funding because our drug free housing model does not agree with their ideas of how communities like ours should address our problem. You see, recently the federal and state governments have authored new policies that require nonprofits like Solutions to abandon our long held core values of drug free housing and our two decade model of personal accountability workforce training. Instead they favor a no-strings-attached new design that must allow active drug using parents of our families (even hard drugs like meth and heroin) into our programs who then get their rent paid from taxpayer funds, versus from employment income like our model. We refused, and as a result we had to walk away from $95,000 in federal funds.

You can read about the issue here in a recent story by the San Diego Union Tribune: http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/2016/feb/03/vista-group-pushing-back-against-housing-first/

What this means is that Solutions, with our Board and senior leadership team fully supportive, have decided that we must now strive to become 100% privately funded. We don’t want to be excluded from government funding, but we are given no choice. We cannot just become something that the federal government (or anyone else for that matter) says we should become when it is clearly against our core values.

If every person who loves Solutions gave $24 per month, we could reach that goal of becoming free from all government funds as it pertains to our annual operating budget. We are already 88% of the way there as we saw these policies coming many years ago and moved from 36% funded by the government to just 12%.

So I am asking for your help starting with an easy $24 per month and if you do that, I’ll add you to a special group of Solve It team members. You’ll get an invitation and a seat at a special Solve It event later this year. You’ll also get access to some other really cool stuff that we are cooking up, like insider only content and videos of our families and kids speaking directly to you about how they are transforming their lives through Solutions.