As we move into 2018, I want to thank all of you who have supported Bethany Life in any way last year. Your support benefits our residents and employees in so many ways and we know that we need to earn that support as well, so I wanted to expand on several facts about Bethany Life that you may already know:
We have been a faith-based, non-profit organization for over 100 years and our commitment to remain as such is unwavering. Because of this commitment, we are the only facility in the Story City and Ames area that embraces the need to care for those who require financial assistance along with others who can pay fully for their care. We often receive calls from other facilities about folks who have run out of money and then need to move because the facility they are in does not accept Medicaid. We don’t do that and we have never asked anyone to leave because they have run out of funds.
We are the only facility in the area who employs a full-time chaplain. We celebrate our faith here and minister to all who are in need, irrespective of their faith tradition. This is the cornerstone of who we are and again we remain unwavering in this.
We are very pleased that Bethany Life provides meaningful employment to a great number of people in Story City and the surrounding area. In this way we are able to give back to the community as our employees have returned millions of dollars through their purchase of goods and services over the years.
As a non-profit, we do not pay property taxes on any of our continuum except for our twin homes and maintenance garage. We are grateful for this, primarily because property tax expenses would have to be passed on to our residents and tenants, as they are in any business, making it more expensive to live here. This would in effect tax only those who pay privately, as their rates are the only rates we can adjust. The combination of our mission and tax-free status permits us to give back to our communities through food, services and use of space. The value of these contributions amounted to $966,208.57 in 2016.
Finally, I speak not only for Bethany Life but for all who are providing services to our elderly population when I say that our field is becoming ever more strained financially due to many forces in play. You may have even heard about recent expense control measures we have had to take to maintain appropriate fiscal discipline. These decisions can be difficult and even painful at times. We remain steadfast to our incredibly important service mission even as public funding for reimbursement for our services continues to decline, regulations and their unavoidable costs, continue to increase and a very tight labor market increases the cost of recruiting and staffing. Any way that we can support those who choose to work in this field is vitally important moving forward. They are amazing people who have a heart for those we serve and choose to go where most won’t.
In closing, I again offer my heartfelt thanks to all who support us and I ask for your continued help in 2018. Your participation in our mission is vital to the care of our elders.