Local nonprofit excluded from Manatee County funding

WWSB ABC7 News at 6pm
Published: Jul. 27, 2023 at 8:13 PM EDT
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SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - Also Youth is a local nonprofit that provides support services and programs for LGBTQ kids and young adults. The Manatee County Commission decided Tuesday not to give them their requested $27,000 of funding.

“We feel like that’s really shortsighted and an uninformed,” says executive director Becky McDonough. “We feel like the commission really missed an opportunity to help a very vulnerable population.”

County Commissioner Amanda Ballard led the charge against funding the organization, and says it isn’t the right way to use taxpayer dollars.

“Instead of using a watchful waiting model, which has been the typical model that has been used in the past, they use an affirmation model when it comes to gender,” says Ballard.

McDonough argues funding for counseling is very important and benefits the entire community.

“The more kids who can get in counseling and benefit from counseling the better it is for the community. It reduces the rates in the ER hospitals, it reduces Baker Acts, it reduces a lot of other emergency services,” says McDonough.

But Ballard says it’s important not to teach kids things they may not be able to fully comprehend.

“Some of that is irreversible and can lead to some pretty intensive consequences that children and teens may not realize at the time,” says Ballard.

While Also Youth is disappointed that the county isn’t supporting the program, they are confident their community supporters will step up.