ROCKFORD (WIFR) – After a controversial year for the Booker Washington Center, things are looking up for the West Side Community Staple. Workers lost major funding last year and almost lost the building. However, two women are beating the odds against them to save the center for our kids.
“It’s not saving Booker anymore, it’s just re-establishing.”
“Booker has been a nucleus for the family for a long time.”
It’s that family image Jessie Bates and Geneva Anderson say they’re working hard to bring back to the Booker Washington Center, so they decided to co-manage the building. After a controversial year, where they lost everything from staff, to program funding from the United Way and even their non-profit status, they’ve raised bout $75,000 since June to help pay off a nearly $500,000 debt.
However, Bates says they have a long way to go.
“We’re moving forward, that’s the way we feel, as long as people keep having the confidence in us and as long as they keep giving, then it’ll succeed.”
“We have a 97 year history and we want to be able to keep that and get that legacy to the children so that in the future, they’ll have a Booker Washington Center too.”
Both women say they can’t afford to hire staff right now, however we’re told there are dozens of people willing to volunteer for programs like tutoring.
Administrators of the Booker Washington Center say they were rejected for funding from the United Way last year, but that’s not going to stop them from trying again. Regardless if they receive money from the United Way, Booker says they will find another way to manage their programs.