Board of Directors President Justin Heim shares message to the communityMessage from WYC Board of Directors:
Dear Wisconsin Youth Company community,
Over the past several months, there have been many changes in all of our lives. With the outbreak of COVID-19, we have all been asked to change our daily schedules and routines, and adapt quickly to consistently changing information. As the board of directors, we wanted to reach out to you — our community — to let you know how Wisconsin Youth Company is responding to the current health crisis while planning for the future.
Wisconsin Youth Company has changed more about our operations in the last few months than in the past 45 years. These changes have demanded we make difficult decisions that impact children’s health and safety, families’ plans and financial decisions, neighborhood well-being, and the future of our organization. As a board, we have spent time weighing impossible choices between the immediate needs of families and the ability of our organization to survive the crisis. Through all of this, we have found direction in the organization’s core values of putting children first, supporting our community, transparent communication, and striving to take care of each other.
The work that Wisconsin Youth Company does is regulated by the state and overseen by local government. We hold a high standard for the quality of experiences children have in our programs. Recently, the many changes in regulation have made our path forward sometimes unclear. We want the Wisconsin Youth Company community to know our staff are dedicated to creating new best practices for health and safety, and working with all of our regulators, government officials, school personnel, and community partners to ensure the safety of children in our care.
We have worked over the years to guide the organization in financial responsibility and future planning. Because of this work, Wisconsin Youth Company has been able to draw on reserve funds to maintain minimum operations while programs are not running. Unfortunately, these reserves alone will not sustain the organization through a prolonged time period of not being able to run programs. The board is grateful to our donors and sponsors for their generous support.
Wisconsin Youth Company understands that many families are also feeling the financial hardships created by the COVID-19 outbreak. Our staff are working with families to refund programs that are not running. Our staff also understand that families may change their plans due to the global pandemic and are working to respond to those families’ individual requests. While we believe refunding families is consistent with our mission and values, these refunds create financial hardship for the organization, and could make it difficult to operate in the future. The board greatly appreciates all of the families who have been able to donate those refunds to support the operations of Wisconsin Youth Company.
We would like to assure each member of our community that we are committed to the work required to lead the organization through this crisis. Creating places for children to thrive and supporting families is important work and it must continue. That work may take different forms in the future as we all learn together what community looks like in the reality of a global pandemic. Thank you for your ongoing support and patience as we work through this together. We are truly all better together.
Wisconsin Youth Company Board of Directors