Fiscal Year 2021 presented many positive opportunities for KSI, even as we dealt with ongoing challenges from the pandemic. With incredible dedication from the KSI team, the organization continued to move forward with service and organizational growth since reinstating programming in August 2020.
At that time we started with a handful of program participants returning to a very changed and challenging environment. By sticking to strict protocols for health safety, we’ve been able to consistently offer services to more than 150 individuals at various sites. In fact, we’ve increased the amount of participants served more than 50% since the beginning of 2021, and we have 40 more individuals on waiting lists pending staffing to serve them.
One of the fastest growing programs is the KSI Explore Program, which helps people with a variety of acquired disabilities due to injuries by offering peer support and socialization experiences that help them reclaim their lives. Since being approached by the state to institute this specialized adult day program years ago, KSI has seen the widespread need for these services and has expanded access to The Explore Program. In 2021 alone, the program participation grew 43%, and has doubled since 2018. That trend is certainly set to continue into 2022.
More than simply growing in participant numbers, KSI also expanded in late 2021 by opening its Southern Campus in Georgetown to better serve southern Delaware seniors with Intellectual/Developmental Disabilities (I/DD). These were individuals who lost their access to programming when the pandemic hit in March of 2020. With the capacity to serve more than 70 individuals at that site, the Southern Campus offers potential for reaching many underserved individuals with day programs to enrich their lives.
The organization has fared well financially throughout the last two years. Even factoring a slight dip in revenues, conscientious management of expenses resulted in a strong financial position for KSI at the end of 2021. Additionally, the state’s increased funding for Direct Support Professionals under the McNesby Act made a difference in 2021.
KSI’s financial health during the pandemic was helped in a significant way by the federal Cares Act and Payroll Protection funding made available to businesses and nonprofits. However, with federal pandemic relief funding on the wane, being able to raise funds through special events and appeals to the community is becoming more and more important. KSI revamped our Annual 3 Club Golf Tournament in 2021 to include new features. And it raised $42,000, more than it ever has in its 32 year history. We brought back the Monster Bash, a fun Halloween-themed party that helped raise $14,000 in 2021 and is returning in 2022 to do even more. In addition to these wonderful events, we’re adding the Paths to Possabilities 5K Run/Walk on May 14, 2022 at Killens Pond. All of these events succeed because of the generous sponsors and participants that offer their donations to help KSI’s programs thrive.
Of course, along with these highlights come the challenges that have plagued many companies and nonprofits. One of the factors that limits the pace with which KSI moves forward is staffing. As in many sectors, KSI is aggressively seeking new DSPs, Drivers and casual workers to fill positions that will allow KSI to get participants back into programming and community-based opportunities, as well as bolster growth at the Southern Campus. We encourage anyone wanting to work for the betterment of lives for people with disabilities to look into open job positions that might interest them at www.ksiinc.org. We also encourage you to visit the “Donate” button on the website to help keep KSI moving forward with proper funding. Our partnerships with community members, businesses and fellow nonprofits are what keep our mission alive to help people reach their highest potential.
Jayson D. Crouch
Chief Executive Officer