Dear Editor:

The appearance of success can be a double-edged sword.

The public perception of Seeds of Learning seems to be we have a beautiful building, excellent staff, conscientious board members, engaged parents and adorable, smart children. That is all absolutely true. The perception that we are so successful and financially secure that we require no more monetary support is grossly untrue.

The reality is that, while Seeds provides excellent education to at-risk children, the cost remains $50 a day, every day, for every child. Government and grant support are becoming more scarce each year while the costs of maintaining our program continue. Each day the children need to be fed, housed, and kept warm while being educated to succeed in the future.

Seeds has a diversified fund-raising plan that includes board giving, individual and business giving, school/government support, grants, parent fund-raisers and events such as Little Black Dress Affair. In this past year, the board was tasked with raising $124,000 that, along with tuition and grants, would pay for expenses. As of November, we were $15,000 shy of that goal. We struggled to offset lost income for the food program and replace the broken security key pad. After Sandy Hook, we felt forced to add shatterproof glass to the windows for the safety of the children. All expenses that were not in the budget.

Seeds board and staff have met with many individuals and organizations in the past few months. We raised awareness about what we do for 48 Pagosa preschoolers, and why. We know there are over 600 more preschoolers in Pagosa who deserve an early education. We are at the point in the Seeds story where we can dream about helping more children succeed. To do that, we must first be confident we can maintain what we have before we take on more expenses.

Nonprofits cannot have a Black Friday sale to entice more customers. We must count on the understanding and help of individual and business donors. We are proud of our fiscal policies and invite you to review our financial records at any time. Our budget is lean, with every donation gratefully accepted and used responsibly.

All of us at Seeds sincerely appreciate the support this community has given us over the past years and wish you and your families the very best in 2014.

During this Holiday Season, we hope you will consider giving to your favorite local charities. All do vital work this community cannot do without. We hope you will include Seeds of Learning in that generosity.

Lori Unger

This story was posted on December 19, 2013.