It’s going to be a long spring for the BAY Team.
Executive director Kathy Sullivan recently requested another five years of funding through a Drug Free Communities grant. The federal program isn’t the organization’s only source of funding but it is certainly the largest. The BAY Team has received $124,000 annually in Drug Free Communities money since 2008, which the coalition has matched 100 percent through in-kind support and contributions.
The five-year re-application, however, is a competitive process.
Groups from around the country are seeking money from the program, and Drug Free Communities funding as a whole has been reduced under sequestration.
While the BAY Team receives smaller amounts of money through state substance abuse prevention funds and other grants, it doesn’t receive any local taxpayer funds, and Ms. Sullivan knows that failure to receive another round of Drug Free Communities grant funding would mean significant changes for her group.
“Should we not be successful with this application, we’ll have to look at how the coalition is funded,” Ms. Sullivan said.
“It would put a severe limitation on our capacity.”
The grant’s application schedule doesn’t help matters.
The application deadline was Friday, March 22, though the coalition won’t hear back on a decision until the summer. In the meantime, Barrington will approve a budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1.
“It’s a real challenge,” Ms. Sullivan said.
BAY Team’s impact
Ms. Sullivan said she believes the BAY Team has done a lot over the last five years, and has earned another round of funding. She pointed to the adoption of a local training program for those working in establishments with liquor licenses and advocacy for implementation of the state’s social host law.
“I’m confident we’re putting in a solid application,” Ms. Sullivan said. “Then it’s in hands I can’t control.”
Barrington Police Chief John LaCross sees the BAY Team as a valuable resource for the community. He pointed to the group’s educational efforts including sending tips to parents and bringing in guest speakers.
“It’s a great organization. They’ve done so much for public awareness of what the issues are facing Barrington as it relates to underage drinking, drug use and the negative consequences that result from bad choices,” Chief LaCross said.
The BAY Team also funds the police department’s party patrols. The small units utilize two extra officers on duty who patrol town and specifically keep an eye on places where teens or underage individuals have been known to drink.
Additionally, the program allows for bicycle patrols of the bike path in the summer and the extra units on duty are available for other calls as needed.
“You’re saving lives,” Chief LaCross said.
“You will never be able to count how many accidents we prevented by interacting with these kids.”
The BAY Team does not receive any local taxpayer money and Ms. Sullivan said she has no intention of asking for any, at least not during this budget cycle.
The current round of funding will expire on Sept. 30.