Tax-deductible donations welcome for COA gift fund

WESTFIELD-Contributions are always welcome for the Westfield Council on Aging’s  “revolving gift account,” according to Tina Gorman, executive director.

“Money from the revolving fund account is generally used to enhance programs, activities, and services that will benefit a large number of the city’s older adults,” said Gorman.

Gorman noted that funds spent have been used for a variety of reasons, ranging from CPR training and computer upgrades for staff and the annual tuning of the senior center’s piano, to automatic external defibrillator annual inspections and entertainment.

“We recently purchased three new computers for staff,” said Gorman. “Last year, Karen Noblit, our senior benefits coordinator, assisted 332 clients with their health insurance during the Medicare open enrollment period. Her computer is considered ‘vintage’ by the city’s Technology Department.”

Gorman said to ensure that Noblit is able to assist as many seniors as possible this fall, she needs a computer that is compatible with the federal Medicare site.

“The same is true of Joyce Peregrin, Companion Program coordinator, and Carol Shannon, principal clerk,” said Gorman. “Those computers have been ordered using money from the revolving gift account.”

Gorman explained that the Council on Aging operates using two large accounts as well as several grants.

“The city budget covers the bulk of the department’s expenses such as full-time salaries, building maintenance, utilities, and supplies,” she said. “The state formula allocation is used to pay the salaries of five part-time employees. A combination of smaller grants helps to fund the Companion Program.”

The revolving gift account is also used to pay for the entertainment for special parties, dinners, and events.

“That expense cannot be taken from either the city budget or the state formula allocation,” said Gorman. “Local entertainers such as Noah Lis, Richie Mitnick, Dave Colucci, Center Stage, and Sarah the Fiddler have delighted their senior center audiences. Their stage presence creates a festive and participatory atmosphere, hallmarks of successful programming.”

Gorman noted that other than staff salaries, the entire food program is run with funds from the revolving gift account.

“Obviously, the fees charged for meals is put back into the account,” she said. “But when people ask how we can afford to charge only $3 for a full dinner, in addition to carefully planned menus and frugal spending, the answer is that we can dip into the revolving gift account if we need to make up for a shortfall during any given week or month.”

Funds from the gift account may also be used to pay for necessary expenses that do not fit “neatly” into any of the categories funded through the city or state.

“If the grant money is used up prior to the end of the fiscal year, the money from the revolving gift account is used to reimburse Companion Program volunteers for their mileage,” said Gorman.

As the number of older adults continues to increase in the city, Gorman said the need also increases for specialized services and expanded programming.

“Therefore, donations to the revolving gift account are always welcome and always very much appreciated,” she said, adding all donations are tax-deductible.

Anyone wishing to make a donation may send a check payable to “Westfield Revolving Gift Fund” and mail to Westfield Council on Aging, 45 Noble St., Westfield, MA 01085.

“Donations may also be made in honor of, in appreciation of, or in memory of a friend or relative,” said Gorman. “Contributors will be listed in our newsletter unless they wish to remain anonymous.”

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