A Message from the CEO: Keith Vire
One of my all-time favorite advocates in this business once told me that, “If you always work hard to do the right thing, and keep your focus on the people we support, the money will take care of itself.” I’ve always believed that. For over 40 years now, I’ve lived by that code. I still believe it’s true, but the past couple of years have really challenged that belief—we’ve worked hard, we’ve kept our focus on the people we support, and we’ve struggled mightily because of it. Because we have never turned anyone away regardless of the level of support needed, and because we’ve never made the decision to terminate anyone due to the level of need or the cost of providing support, we have had budget woes that are almost unbelievable.
In our statement of mission and vision, we say that we believe, “with the proper supports, every person, regardless of ability, can thrive in the community”. The key phrase here is “with the proper supports”. Over the past few years in our state, it has become increasingly difficult to fund the proper supports, and we have had to fight hard to make it happen.
As the cost of providing supports has risen, other providers in our state have begun to limit their liability, to dismiss individuals who are challenging, or those whose health concerns make them difficult (and expensive) to support. With the support and willingness of our board of directors, we have continued to provide those supports at a loss. Please don’t misunderstand—we didn’t just sit back and continue to lose money every day—we fought and appealed every negative decision, we advocated at every turn for the funding to keep people safe and in the community, and we just kept fighting.
I’m proud to say that, in spite of a couple of really tough years, my friend has turned out, once again, to be right. We’re going strong, and ASN will be a viable and growing organization for years to come. I can’t say enough about our board and our staff—we always believed, and we always hung together. I’m grateful to this great team and to this caring community. We thank you for your support, and we will always work hard to be worthy and to make you proud.