Collaboration Brings Hope, "as funding allows"
Link Center Foundation and NAMA Join Efforts
by Stephanie M. Schwartz,
President, Link Center Foundation www.LinkCenterFoundation.org
Freelance Writer www.SilvrDrach.homestead.com
Member, Native American Journalists Association (NAJA)
November 29, 2008
In mid-November, 2008, Link Center Foundation's long-standing Emergency Heating/Utility Assistance Program for the elders, disabled, and seriously ill residents of the Lakota (Sioux) Reservations in South Dakota began a collaborative effort with NAMA, the Native American Music Association (which produces the Native American Music Awards known as Nammys) to better serve the elders and disabled on the Lakota Reservations with their emergency heating needs.
In a winter which has already produced a blizzard of mammoth proportions, there is an urgent and ever-greater need to act now to find funding for this winter-long assistance program. With unemployment reaching up to 85%, a 33% increase in fuel costs, and average monthly incomes roughly $350 or less, the elderly and disabled are the most at-risk population.
To make matters even more serious, according to the last census, nearly 60% of all elders are raising grandchildren or great-grandchildren in their home.
However, the key phrase, "as funding allows," influences everything (including hope). Unfortunately, the national economy has been on a downward spiral and donations to non-profits reflect that condition. Giving to worthy causes has diminished everywhere. Nonetheless, the critical life-threatening needs still exist on the reservations.
This collaboration of Link Center Foundation and NAMA seeks to better provide a little hope and emergency assistance with the help of contributions from the public. No amount is too small.
Link Center Foundation
is a small, grassroots all-volunteer 501c3 non-profit organization in Colorado. It has been working to help on the Lakota reservations of South Dakota since 2000. Its formal Emergency Heating/Utility Assistance program has been active since 2005. It seeks to serve all 9 Lakota (Sioux) Reservations in South Dakota as funding allows. 95% of all donations to the Emergency Heating/Utility program are used solely for that program (propane, electricity, and/or wood) and the remaining 5% covers bank and credit/debit card processing fees and other necessary operating costs.
NAMA, the Native American Music Association,
is also a 501c3 non-profit organization and is located in New York City. Responding initially to the mammoth blizzard and crisis conditions in early November 2008, NAMA wishes to continue to help provide emergency winter heating assistance to the elders and disabled on the Pine Ridge and Rosebud Lakota (Sioux) Reservations for the winter of 2008-2009. Collaborating with Link Center Foundation's emergency heating program serves that purpose. NAMA's response has also initiated and coordinated numerous clothing drives to benefit both those reservations.