HiTops Seeks Borough Funding; Council Offers No Guarantees
HiTops appeared before Borough Council last week
to ask for an annual
HiTops provides clinical services for youth, educational programs for students, parents, and teachers, and support programs for those confronting sexual difficulties such as gender confusion or sexual assault.
Operating under a budget of almost $1 million, HiTops receives approximately $275,000 in revenue from clinical services and educational programs each year, and gets the rest of its funding from donations, said Executive Director Bonnie Parker. In 2004, the organization raised more than $320,000 from individuals in the community, $50,000 from corporations, and $280,000 in grants from foundations and trusts.
"We have not sought support from [the Borough] in the 18 years we've been in business," said Ms. Parker, adding that last year HiTops served 9,000 people in general education programs, and 1,000 for medical services.
"We know we're a valued resource in the community... We need your support in any way we can get it," she said.
HiTops is the only organization in New Jersey to provide a teen-smoking cessation program, a service for which it just lost its federal funding, said Ms. Parker. She added that last year the organization offered more than 60 workshops in the Princeton Regional Schools.
"Our clients are teenagers and schools, neither of which have a lot of money," she said.
Emphasizing the Borough's need to tighten its belt this year, given an inflating budget that raised taxes 12 cents per $100 of assessed valuation in 2004, Councilman David Goldfarb said, "We cannot provide general support....to organizations that don't provide key functions to the Borough itself."
"There are many organizations around town that give counseling," said Councilwoman Wendy Benchley, suggesting that HiTops combine services with other organizations such as Corner House, which also caters to teens.
Mr. Goldfarb suggested reallocating some of the $115,000 the Borough gives annually to Corner House to help offset HiTops' financial burden. However, Mayor Joe O'Neill pointed out that Corner House has been a joint agency of the Borough and Township since 1972, whereas HiTops is a private organization.
no promise of funding from the Borough, HiTops is scheduled to
appear before Township Committee with the same proposal.