ACE seeks end-of-year funding from county

A board member of All Cultures Equal presented a report to the Hamilton County Board of Supervisors Tuesday and requested funds to help continue operation of the Webster City-based organization.

John Boughton said the organization, which has operated since 2004, is facing some dire financial realities as 2018 comes to a close.

“We’ve had a difficult year,” he said. “We started with some issues and the temporary loss of our nonprofit status which was resolved in May. We’ve been operating without a director for almost a year.”

Boughton outlined the many activities and services ACE provides the community.

“We have a food pantries and bread pantries for clients who have food insecurities. We assist members of the community with English-language translations, both written documents and verbal.”

He said the organization has provided immigration and legal resources.

At this time, the organization has shut down services, except for minimal support due to lack of funds.

Boughton said ACE’s board has worked on a new vision for the organization.

“Our vision is a community that welcomes and accepts all cultures, connecting neighbors, creating an open place to share the best of who we are,” he said.

The ACE building is the temporary home of HeadStart for the current school year.

The seven-member ACE board has been working with Iowa State University as they work towards reorganization and in developing vision statements.

“We’ve been restructuring business operations in response to input from others. We expect to look at future grant opportunities,” said Boughton. “We’ve been focusing on a year end financial appeal and reorganizing and updating the financial accounting system.”

At the meeting on Tuesday, Boughton asked the supervisors for $15,000 to help sustain the organization. He told the supervisors that 67 cents of every dollar of ACE’s operating budget comes from donations, with the remainder coming from fees.

“We wanted to take one step at a time,” he said. “We wanted to talk to the City Council and the county before we move forward. If there isn’t support there, we don’t think we could move forward.”

ACE board members made a $15,000 funding request to the City Council at the Nov. 19 meeting, and will be back on the agenda for the Dec. 3 meeting.

If ACE is able to move forward with support from the city and county, Boughton said the board would begin to visit with local businesses to share the story of the organization and hopefully, secure donations.

The group is also looking at doing a needs assessment to determine the services that should be offered to the community, including perhaps more interactive and innovative English-language classes.

“We’ve also had some requests for citizenship classes,” Boughton said.

About 11 percent of Hamilton County’s population is from another country, he said, adding that about half of those individuals are Hispanic. With the opening of the Prestage Foods Plant imminent, Bought said he believed that percentage would increase.

“We believe All Cultures Equal could be helpful,” he said. The board has not yet reached out to Prestage officials.

“We understand what a vital and important piece that ACE has been and will be in the future,” said Supervisor Dan Campidilli. “I think they are headed in the right direction with good leadership on the board.”

“It’s a really valued program,” Supervisor David Young said. “I’m really impressed with the new board members getting a handle on what’s going on.”

No action was taken on the funding request at Tuesday’s meeting.

Boughton said donations from the public are welcome and can be sent to ACE at 1440 E. Second St., Webster City, IA 50595.

To view this article as it originally appeared in the Daily Freeman-Journal, click here.