Monday, August 11, 2008
Education / Hannan
No Tomorrow for Local Non-Profit Better Tomorrows
by Caleb Hannan
on Mon, Aug 11, 2008 at 2:28 PM
Better Tomorrows Adult Education Center
For four years, the non-profit has offered GED and computer classes in an East Nashville neighborhood where half the population doesn’t have a high school diploma.
But in February, one of Better Tomorrow’s co-founders found out she had cancer. A couple months later, the other was forced to move when her husband was transferred out of state.
Major hurdles, to be sure. But Ashley Holland, Better Tomorrow’s interim executive director, says the real death blow came because evaporating grant money has forced more non-profits to look toward local companies for funds.
“The amount of donation requests has tripled or quadrupled since July,” says Holland.
With more hands reaching for a smaller pot, Better Tomorrow’s wasn't able to weather the storm. Its doors will officially close next month.
Holland spent last week calling the 100 or so residents on its waiting list, trying to funnel them into other programs. But she’s worried. And with 1/3rd of her clients qualifying as functional illiterates, Holland is right to be fearful that most won’t venture on their own to find help.
“With our students,” says Holland, “it’s not very hard to put up barriers.”
For conspicuous signs of a failing economy, most people will point to one of two red herrings: gas prices and foreclosed homes. Tracking the steady climb at the pump and the proliferation of “For Sale” signs is easy. It’s visual information that’s available every day.
Less conspicuous, however, is what’s happening to those people who rely on the generosity of others. Places like