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Scituate's CORSE program sees success in fundraising, despite concerns

Posted by Jessica Bartlett  July 25, 2011 05:40 PM

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Scituate’s Community of Resources for Special Education (CORSE) program will be able to provide all summer programs without a problem after almost coming in under budget for summer camp fundraising.

The programs, including Therapeutic Horseback Riding – where children with disabilities ride experience riding horses, Maritime Adventures - where children with disabilities will learn to sail, windsurf, and canoe on Scituate Harbor, and two summer camps are all being offered now through the end of August.

According to Tracy Johnston, President of CORSE, the organization needs to raise $40,000 from the community and $60,000 through grants annually, a difficult feat in today’s economy.

When community fundraising fell short earlier this summer, Johnston became concerned.

“We do a separate CORSE campaign, because so much of our money goes to summer camp. It’s an additional way…for people to donate specifically toward these camps. We only [expect to receive] between $3000-$5000, but this year, the people we usually go to weren’t able to donate,” Johnston said.

A subsequent email out to all CORSE subscribers yielded some money, but the biggest fundraising initiative was yet to come.

In addition to $19,000 raised from the annual Golf Tournament fundraising event, which occurred this past weekend, Johnston said numerous organizations have donated to the cause.

The CVS Caremark, The Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation for Autism, Evan Henry Foundation for Autism, Build-A-Bear Workshop Foundation, Finish Line Youth Foundation, Autism Speaks Baker Summer Camp, Friends of Scituate Recreation, Welles Remy Crowther Charitable Trust, and Sprinkler Fitters Local Union 550 U.A have all helped with donations of grants for $1000 or more.

Johnston attributes the grant success to the fact that more and more people are starting to know about CORSE.

“We’re doing a lot of leg work in raising funds, but the community in the South Shore has been great, and we’ve gotten a lot more money from [all these organization],” Johnston said. “I’ve been writing grants for five years, and this year we started to see them having confidence that we’re a sustainable organization. We’ve been alive for five years, have serviced 1500 kids - people are confident in investing in CORSE.”

The organization offers a variety of annual activities for children with special needs, majority of the cost for which is covered by the organization itself. Scholarships are also given out to families with financial hardships.

It’s a costly endeavor, Johnston said, and no year is easy when it comes to fundraising.

“With the economy, its just really hard to guarantee the funds every year. You have to keep being fresh about it, and look for new grant opportunities,” she said. “We have to submit a lot of grants, and anyone who wants to donate on top of those fundraisers, we have to get the word out.”

With the three most expensive CORSE programs being offered through August, Johnston said fundraising came in just in time.

It’s a good thing too, Johnston said, as all of the programs being offered by CORSE are sold out for this year.

“All of [the programs] are sold out…we have waiting lists for every single camp. But it shows the need in the community. They are extremely popular, and its not just for Scituate [residents] any longer,” she said.

Johnston summarized the larger meaning behind the programs in an email sent to all CORSE members this past month.

“We are so proud of the following programs that will continue to benefit so many children in our community,” Johnston wrote. “It is difficult to put into words the profound effect that these programs have on those children and families that participate. Each year, these opportunities are by far the favorite experience of each child's summer.”

To make a contribution, locals are encouraged to visit www.corsefoundation.org to make a general donation or send a check to CORSE, PO Box 512, North Scituate Ma 02060; noting CORSE CAMPaign.

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