1 Full-Time Staff Member
30 Advisory Committee Members
15,000+ Clients Aided
…that is Another Way
Another Way is a volunteer-driven program, created by Inland Regional Center (IRC) Consumer Service Coordinators (CSC), back in 1986. Their mission was to aid IRCs most vulnerable clients during times of financial hardship. “They recognized the health and economic disparities that often plague people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and decided to do something about it”, said Andrea Gonzalez, Another Way Coordinator, “they felt they needed to be a barrier between the families they served and financial disaster.” Another Way helps bridge the gap between the services and supports IRC provides and those outside its funding guidelines. Over the years, what started as a group of dedicated case workers coming together and pooling their own money to host fundraisers, has transformed into a largescale operation recognized by the disability community. Food, clothing, rent, utilities, medications, dental work, burials, and mobility equipment are among the many resources Another Way has assisted clients with.
Each Wednesday, members of Another Way’s Advisory Committee, made up of IRC CSCs, program managers, directors, and other professional IRC staff, come together to review requests submitted by case managers on behalf of their clients. The goal is to provide clients with the tools necessary to achieve long-term stability, therefore, the client’s current financial status, their ability to meet financial needs after receiving assistance, and the availability of other resources is discussed. “A goal of Another Way is to increase and expand the level of services and resources for consumers and use existing resources in a way that is complimentary and efficient rather than competitive and duplicative”, shared Andrea. The program has become a safety net for the Developmental Disability community. “There have been many times a request for rent also becomes a conversation about food banks and SSI”, said Andrea, “I believe that is our strength – the ability to bring many resources together in one place.” Including the client’s CSC, ensures that the client’s needs will be advocated for, CSCs share personal connections with their clients and have insights that clients may be reluctant to share with others.
Another Way has evolved tremendously throughout the years. “At its core, Another Way is a grassroots effort”, said Andrea, “lead by extremely dedicated CSCs to help individuals with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities during times of great need.” Andrea recalls the origins of the program, not personally, but from long-standing committee members, “originally, volunteers managed Another Way. They came together and pooled their money, held burrito sales, and hosted a fashion show. In the 1990s it became apparent that a full-time staff was needed to maintain the program. With one staff dedicated to the program, grants became part of the fundraising efforts opening the door to helping clients with dental work, eyeglasses, wheelchair repairs, and similar items. For many years the golf tournament was the primary source of income for Another Way. Recently, we’ve been able to diversify our revenue streams, and this has been part of Another Way’s evolution. We now have a comprehensive fundraising program that includes grants, events, corporate and individual donations. Most of our individual donations come from staff at IRC. We have approximately 230 employees who donate to Another Way every month. At the end of the year this comes out to ~$25,000. It’s an amazing and humbling thing to witness such unbound generosity. Staff at IRC truly go beyond the call of duty.”
On average, Another Way gives out between $8,000 and $10,000 in assistance per month and helps approximately 1,500 clients per year. At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, back in March 2020, Andrea noticed a sharp decline in requests. This decline could be attributed to government assistance in the form of rent relief, unemployment benefits, and individual stimulus checks, among other things, however, with those assistance programs coming to an end, Andrea anticipates requests to rise by the end of the year. In anticipation to the increase, Andrea has been working diligently to ensure there are funds to cover the requests. Fundraising events hosted by Another Way include their Golf Tournament, Bowling Tournament, Toy Drive, and Food Drive. The Golf Tournament, however, has raised the most funds for the program and has become the most popular among volunteers and participants alike.
Years ago, Andrea recalls, “a former employee, by the name of Victor Macutay, went to Lina Franklin, also a former employee, and told her Another Way could raise more money throwing a golf tournament instead of burrito sales. He taught her and guided her and that’s how the first annual golf tournament was born.” Now in its 22nd year, the Golf Tournament has transformed from a small group gathering at the local San Bernardino golf course, to a largescale 2-day event, hosting over 170 golfers and 250 guests in some of Southern California’s most prestigious golf courses. The event welcomes players of all skill levels, as the focus is on raising funds to help those in need. People come together to have fun while supporting the needs of children and adults with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities.
After halting events, due to the pandemic, Andrea is excited to once more be at the forefront of event planning in anticipation of the Golf Tournament. “I’m extremely grateful we are able to host the tournament again,” says Andrea, “the support and generosity of our sponsors is humbling. It was difficult not having the funding from the tournament for almost two years. Thankfully, our grant funders came through and we were able to continue serving clients in spite of the pandemic.” This year’s Another Way Golf Tournament is set to take place at JW Marriot Desert Springs Resort and Spa on the weekend of October 8th.
For more information about Another Way, to donate or volunteer, visit their website or contact Andrea Gonzalez at 909-890-3045 or [email protected]
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