NCA holds fund-raising concert |

NCA holds fund-raising concert

With her program temporarily out of business due to a lack of state funds, Neighborhood Center for the Arts Executive Director Ellen Persa doesn’t mince words.

“It’s terrible,” she said Thursday about the decision Monday to suspend work with her 59 clients. The funding for the center dried up because the California Legislature is eight weeks late in approving a state budget, and the state hasn’t dispersed money since June 30 to pay for July and August services.

“This is critical; this is devastating to their lives,” Persa said of her developmentally disabled clients.

Persa has been contacting donors and “begging banks” for funding, to no avail. So the center will hold its own fund-raiser today, a “Songs of Support” concert at 12:30 p.m. at the Litton Building, 200 Litton Drive, Grass Valley. The concert will be outside behind the building, Persa said, and will feature guitarist Kyle Field. Donations will be accepted.

Persa said the Alta California Regional Center, the agency that funds the center, is trying to negotiate a loan to get NCA and other programs up and running. “That would put me back in business immediately.”

But Persa is not taking anything for granted because, “late Wednesday, we were informed that Alta California, responsible for 94 percent of our $580,000 operating budget, cannot pay us for services in July, August and beyond until the new state budget is approved.

“This left us with only enough money to pay our staff through Aug. 20. We have suspended our operations until interim funding can be found.”

Since opening in 1984, NCA has offered three programs for people over age 22 with various health and development issues including autism, Down syndrome, mental retardation, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, brain damage caused by accidents, and other conditions that limit daily living.

“The art, community, and vocational programs allow our clients an opportunity to lead full and rewarding lives,” Persa said.

“They make lifelong friends here and create art work that is sold within the community – giving them a sense of contribution, integration and real accomplishment.”

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