Glenview Youth center keeps doors open as funding disappears
Nancy Bloom, executive director of Youth Services of Glenview/Northbrook, is concerned about the lack of perpetual funding by United Way. Karie Angell Luc~for Sun-Times Media
Updated: December 24, 2012 3:46PM
GLENVIEW — There’s not just one small welcome mat in front of the McLennan Center For Youth in Glenview on Lake Ave.
Count ’em, four, please, at the home of Youth Services of Glenview/Northbrook. And while Nancy Bloom, executive director, says she jokingly dusts of the welcome mat “all of the time,” and while those gray textured welcome mats are newer, there is urgency to replace (annual) lost funding for basic services. The State of Illinois withdrew $50,000. United Way halted $46,000. Bloom, raised in Chicago and executive director here since 1989, has four children, Vicki Shaffer, of Evanston, Michael, of California, Russell, of Ohio, and David, of Indiana.
Youth Services began in 1972. How does this home speak to your soul?
That’s really an interesting question. We’ve had several homes in the time that I’ve been here, and this building, this home was a dream. It was a dream for us. And when we actually opened the doors, and got to come in here, it was the most fulfilling experience because we showed the children that the community (Glenview and Northbrook) cared.
Where does Youth Services get its funding?
When I first started, we had only three sources of funding and when one of those sources decided not to fund us, we were on the verge of closing our doors. So I knew it was very important to diversify our funds. We have many sources. We have our villages, we have the township, we have individuals (plus businesses and foundations). But we’ve had some reversals of fortune. The state withdrew its funding. And United Way withdrew its funding, That was wiped out. It’s tough.
What happened with United Way?
United Way (sighs) has changed their priorities. They now focus on three categories which is okay, those are good categories. They have centralized their offices and they’ve also centralized their giving. It used to be dollars raised locally went to the local communities to help their residents. That’s not happening anymore. We’re eliminated. But when I try to tell them, look, almost 20 percent of our kids are on free or reduced lunches (schools), we have people that have needs, that falls on deaf ears. They’re putting their dollars elsewhere. And I think that’s going to be a real shock to a lot of people who have been very faithful givers to United Way. United Way does good things, I am not saying they’re a bad agency but I don’t agree with their choice. If you want to help your own community, United Way may not be the way to give your dollars unless your earmark it.
What’s your New Years hope?
My wish and resolution, those would be two different things! (laughs). My wish is that (deep breath) we will be here to help any child who needs us, whether they have money or they don’t, that we’re here and providing the services that they need.