MIDLAND - With the state of Texas facing a $27 billion shortfall, the news for local non-profits has been bleak for some time now.
For those non-profits who rely on state and federal funding to fuel their services, they feel like they're being thrown to the fire on what to do for the underprivileged people who rely on them, now that those funds are drying up.
They'll have to come up with the money themselves in the community and there might not be enough to go around.
"It's going to create gaps in funding for organizations that did get state and federal funding, so they're going to have to get out there and start fundraising themselves," Cindy Benson, Executive Director of the United Way of Midland, said. "So, there's a lot of competition. There's only limited resources. We will all be out there vying for the same dollars."
On Thursday, more than 50 non-profits gathered at Midland Fair Havens to hear a presentation from one of the United Way of Texas's Senior Vice President's, Jason Sabo.
In that meeting, the non-profits discussed how there would be more competition for less money from private sources and they don't want the people they serve to suffer for it.
"We've already cut six staff," Mitchell Moore, Executive Director for the Palmer Drug Abuse Program, said. "We're living on attrition, and now our funding's going to continue to be cut, and continue to be cut. So, where do people go to receive services? When the well dries up, what are people going to do?"
Instead of relying on state legislators to stop the cuts, non-profits are now turning inward to talk restoration.
To create more public awareness of the problem, some non-profits told NewsWest 9 they have to capture stories from the people they serve about the real impact of their programs.
"We need to capture the real stories of the impact that individuals are experiencing," Benson said. "Let's let those people sit down and talk to our legislators. Let's let those people have a voice and talk to our community, and that's pretty difficult to do."
The United Way of Midland already tries capturing those stories through their rallies, newsletters, and radio and television interviews, but it is still a difficult task for people in the program to come forward and tell their stories.
"One of the challenges is, as a paid staff person, if I speak up, then they say 'Oh, you're getting paid to do that,'" Moore said. "So, we need board members, we need volunteers, we need program participants who this is directly impacting. When services get cut, then where will they go?"
Non-profit leaders are hoping more stories from the people who need these services will generate more support from the community and the state.
Non-profit leaders said it all starts with people in the programs.
Volunteers talking to board members, people getting the services telling their stories, letting people know just how crucial it is to form a plan to generate financial support to keep these non-profits going into the future.
To call the United Way of Midland, you can reach them at (432) 685-7700.