May 5, 2003
Budget shortfall hits Breckenridge
Village; BGCT offers short-term fix
___By Ken Camp
___Texas Baptist Communications
___Texas Baptists' Human Welfare Coordinating Board has recommended reallocating funds to keep the financially troubled Breckenridge Village of Tyler operating beyond the end of this year.
___But the long-term future of the residential community for mentally challenged adults depends on increased Cooperative Program giving by Texas Baptist churches and the creation of a $5 million endowment, according to Kevin Dinnin, president of Baptist Child & Family Services, the parent organization of Breckenridge Village.
___The Baptist General Convention of Texas Human Welfare Coordinating Board, meeting at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas April 25, recommended allocating to Breckenridge Village $75,000 from funds originally budgeted for Ba
ptist Health System of San Antonio.
The gap between actual costs and estimated costs of providing scholarships has widened as churches have reduced giving to the BGCT Cooperative Program.
___The BGCT agreed last November to authorize the sale of Baptist Health System to Vanguard Health Systems. Funds designated for Baptist Health System in the 2003 BGCT budget have been escrowed.
___In addition to recommending funds to Breckenridge Village, the coordinating board also recommended that escrowed funds designated to Baptist Health System be allocated to a family practice residency program at Valley Baptist Healthcare System in Harlingen; chaplaincy projects in health care systems affiliated with the BGCT; strategic planning and study related to the future of Valley Baptist Missions/Education Center in Harlingen; and exploratory meetings regarding support for Baptist health care ministries internationally.
___The BGCT Administrative Committee will consider those recommendations at its May 8-9 meeting.
___Breckenridge Village has a licensed capacity of 48 residents, and 25 currently are on scholarships, meaning their cost of care is subsidized, Dinnin explained. Last year, Baptist Child & Family Services awarded $150,000 in scholarships to Breckenridge Village residents.
___Without additional income, scholarship funds would be depleted in August, Dinnin reported. The $75,000 recommended by the coordinating board will provide an additional six months of scholarship support beyond that date.
___Breckenridge Village opened in April 1998, following a study authorized by the BGCT Executive Board, initiated at the request of parents who attend the annual BGCT-sponsored Special Friends retreats.
___"The study committee woefully underestimated the cost of care," Dinnin acknowledged. Original estimates put the monthly cost per resident at $1,800. Actual cost of care this year is $3,700 a month per resident. Paying residents are charged only $2,000 per month.
___In part, the disparity between the actual cost and the projected costs has been widened by new state-imposed standards, Dinnin explained.
___Debt retirement also has created a significant drain on the institution. Texas Baptist Men provided free labor for the massive Breckenridge Village construction project, building a facility valued at more than $7.5 million. In spite of the savings in labor for construction, the institution still has a debt of $4.5 million.
___The financial crisis at Breckenridge Village was made worse by the fact that giving by churches through the BGCT Cooperative Program has fallen short of budget. Last year, BGCT institutions received about 90 percent of funds projected in the original budget, and giving remains at a 90 percent level this year.
___"Our Cooperative Program receipts have been about $800,000 less than anticipated over the last three years cumulatively," Dinnin said.
___Breckenridge Village has a $1.5 million annual operating budget. The BGCT 2003 Cooperative Program budget designates $60,000 for Breckenridge Village scholarships. But at 90 percent, the anticipated actual contribution will be $54,600, compared to the $62,625 in scholarship support through the BGCT Breckenridge received as recently as 2001.
___As a result of the shortfall and in order to keep Breckenridge Village afloat, Baptist Child & Family Services has laid off 15 to 20 employees and closed an after-school program for low-income youth in San Antonio, Dinnin said. To cut costs, Baptist Child & Family Services also had to dismiss the executive director at Breckenridge Village.
___Dinnin said he currently is spending two days a week in Tyler, primarily in the role of a development officer for Breckenridge Village.
___In addition to speaking to churches and associations in East Texas, encouraging them to increase their Cooperative Program giving through the BGCT, Dinnin also hopes to see each resident surrounded by a "circle of angels."
___He is seeking donors who will become part of the Angel Circle by collectively underwriting the cost of scholarships for individual residents.
___In spite of the current financial hardships, Dinnin said the programs offered and ministries provided at Breckenridge Village never have been stronger.
___Citing specific instances of what seemed to be God's hand in shaping the institution, he declared, "I still believe that Breckenridge Village was meant to be."
Get printer-friendly version of this story
Send this story to a friend
News of religion, faith, missions, Bible study and Christian ministry among Texas Baptist churches, in the BGCT, the Southern Baptist Convention ( SBC ) and around the world.
Contents/ Masthead / Why We're Here / Links / Archive / E-mail us/ SUBSCRIBE!/ Signup for FirstLook