Thurston nonprofit finds ways to make do

In Thurston County, the hunt for funding keeps Behavioral Health Resources busy.

The Olympia-based group is contracted to provide services related to mental health and addiction issues in Thurston, Mason and Grays Harbor counties. It’s paid with state and federal government funds and raises private donations.

Some fees “have been cut and cut,” said Judi Hoefling, director of community relations. “Some of the things we were able to do for our clients, we are not able to do.”

The organization is raising money to rehabilitate an Olympia building – with a campaign for $175,000 – and another to raise $2 million to consolidate electronic health records.

With 400 employees, the group has seen its annual budget fall to $28 million from $30 million.

“I’m trying to write a lot of grants,” Hoefling said. “It’s hard to ask for money for electronic health records, and it’s easier to ask for services for children.”

“Local funding is way down,” she said. “Grant opportunities are very competitive. A number of grantors have turned their funding toward basic needs, housing and food – and appropriately so – but it hurts people doing programmatic funding. It forces us to become more creative. So there is a good side too.”

Hoefling admits, proudly, “Maybe we don’t have everything we need, but we have to be the best organization we can be with what we have.”

C.R. Roberts, staff writer