Miami-Dade Voters Give a Great Gift to Children, Say Yes to The Children’s Trust
Resource type: News
The Children's Trust |
Original Source Miami, FL Aug. 27, 2008 Miami-Dade County voters gave a huge thumbs up to children and families by voting Tuesday to reauthorize The Children’s Trust. More than 85 percent of voters approved the referendum to permanently establish The Children’s Trust as the children’s service council for the county. ”Voters in overwhelming numbers from every corner of our community have given a great gift to the children of this generation and generations to come,” David Lawrence Jr., chairman of The Children’s Trust board, told the crowd of supporters and well-wishers who attended a victory celebration Tuesday night at the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables. Lawrence said that The Children’s Trust will continue to help as many Miami-Dade children as possible with programs whose goals range from raising health awareness and teaching nonviolence to promoting the arts and honing students’ job skills. The chairman urged, too, that the victory serve to help the effort to provide health care to the tens of thousands of Florida children who lack it. Despite the challenges posed by anti-tax sentiment related to the economic downturn, The Children’s Trust earned an impressive victory based on its effective programs and initiatives in the community during the past five years. The victory was aided by a focused, independently funded grassroots reauthorization campaign directed by strategist Sergio Bendixen. The Children’s Trust garnered overwhelming support from every sector of the community, with especially strong support 97 percent from African-American voters. Anglo voters expressed 85 percent approval, and 77 percent of Hispanic voters approved The Trust. Voter turn-out was 15 percent. Black turn-out was highest at 20 percent; Anglo at 13 percent and Hispanic at 12 percent. Several big-name Floridians supported the renewal campaign in recent weeks. Former Gov. Jeb Bush recorded a 30-second commercial in Spanish that aired in South Florida, urging Miami-Dade residents to vote for the measure. Other boosters included Miami Heat star Alonzo Mourning, both Democratic and Republican state lawmakers and Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Alvarez. In 2002, voters approved the creation of The Children’s Trust by a 2-1 margin. Unlike other children’s service councils in the state that were created permanently, the Miami-Dade County referendum included a clause that required The Trust to return to voters in five years reauthorization. County homeowners pay under 50 cents for every $1,000 of assessed property value toward The Trust about $61 a year for typical, median-value homeowners. The taxes collected by the special district and grants fund more than 300 programs and agencies dedicated to children and families, and The Trust spends 92 cents of every dollar it receives on services, not administrative costs. Revenues for the current tax year will generate nearly $100 million, and The Children’s Trust will use this funding to support its major initiatives that include after-school and summer camps, programs to assist children with special needs/disabilities, health education in the schools, community and for first-time moms, and 211 Helpline, a 24-hour, trilingual hot-line that connects parents and youths to services. One of Atlantic’s grantees, the Breakthrough Collaborative, played a key role in the reauthorization of the Children’s Trust in Miami. The trust benefits many Atlantic grantees and other children/youth programs.