Non-Profits Struggle in Tough Economy

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CALLAWAY COUNTY - The economy has been tough for families --- But local non-profit organizations are also seeing problems with donations as people make decisions on what they can afford.

Crosswind Ranch is a non-profit organization in Callaway County that serves underprivileged children and families, giving them the chance to develop a relationship with other kids and horses. Founder and manager of the ranch, Sue Crane, believes that as the relationship between the child and horse grows, they can learn leadership, empowerment, empathy, and love.

However, Crane and her program, Spirit Riders, have not seen as many donations. While the program is not in jeopardy, lack of funds make it hard to grow.

"We recently became a non-profit on our own last year. We see donations don't outright come in because if someone is struggling they will make the choice to pay their bills. And we understand that. But we are trying to get our name out so people know we are doing great things," Crane said.

Crane has been forced to be creative with fundraising.

"People like to get something out of donating to our organization. We try to think of ways that we can give back in our fundraising," Crane said.

Crane also believes businesses need to help each other out in a tough economy. The ranch has a fundraiser planned in August at Columbia's TGI Friday's.

However, Cedar Creek Therapeutic Riding Center has seen plenty of donations but is always in need of more volunteers. The center put out a call for volunteers in May but did not get the response it hoped.

"We know it was not because of the heat as we had the volunteer training session before anyone knew it was going to get hot. I think it may be because of gas prices, although I am not sure," director Karen Grindler said.

Grindler said the riding center's funds did not take a huge hit from the economy thanks to support from the University of Missouri. Cedar Creek is a philanthropy for a Greek sorority house which has helped raise awareness and funds for the charity. She also said individual donations may be down but Greek Town support has helped make up for that.

"We are also thankful for interns with summer from local community colleges that have helped us," Grindler said.

Cedar Creek focuses on giving people with disabilities and health challenges a chance to ride horses in a creative environment with activity and interaction.

You can learn more about volunteering and donating to the Cedar Creek Therapeutic Riding Center at its website.