News Local/State

Champaign’s Courage Connection Turns To Donations To Keep Doors Open

Volunteers wrap gifts for the women and children of Courage Connection.

Volunteers wrap gifts for the women and children of Courage Connection at Trinity Lutheran Church, Urbana, Il in December. During the state budget crisis, the agency is heavily reliant on donations Darrell Hoemann / C-U Citizen Access

A Champaign social service agency has turned to the community to keep it open while it waits for an end to the state budget crisis.

Courage Connection works with domestic violence victims and the homeless. As part of its ongoing series on the effects of the budget situation, Illinois Public Media talked to Courage Connection’s Megan Wolf.

Wolf is Courage Connection’s development director. She says the state has paid none of the $350,000 the agency is due under a contract to provide services to domestic-abuse victims and the homeless during the fiscal year that ends this month.

“So we’ve had to turn to the public and say, we need your support, we need your help. And this community has been incredibly, incredibly generous,” Wolf said.

Wolf says a recently announced campaign by the Junior League of Champaign-Urbana to match donations with up to $50,000 is helping Courage Connection make through the fiscal year that ends this month.

And a group of women at Clark-Lindsey Village in Urbana known as the $5,000 Project is working to raise money, too, Wolf says. The $5000 Project plans a presentation at the Urbana Free Library at 7 p.m. Monday.

Courage Connection is relying on gifts for far more than the 14 percent of its budget they typically cover, Wolf said.

A lack of state funding has threatened Courage Connection’s future, she said, forcing staff cuts and other cost reductions. But there may be a silver lining, too.

 “When we get through this, we’ll come out much stronger because we’ll have a stronger volunteer base, a stronger donor base,” she said.