The nation’s economic downturn is affecting more than prices at the gas pump and the grocery store. More and more city, county and state governments are struggling with budget shortfalls and making tough decisions about which essential services to continue and which to cut. In some communities, the budget crunch is endangering funding for afterschool programs – and forcing supporters to organize and reach out to new partners in order to keep program doors open.

The economic downturn is tightening public and private budgets and posing new challenges for afterschool programs. “We need to increase our advocacy and reach out to elected officials and government leaders, businesses that can become new partners, and the media which can carry messages about how popular and important afterschool programs are to our communities,” said Afterschool Alliance Executive Director Jodi Grant. “Quality afterschool programs are immensely popular because they provide a valuable service to children and families. That gives us a lot of leverage in budget debates, but we have to organize and speak out.”