Published June 30, 2021
Because Merrick, Inc., is a non-profit, our funding is limited. The average cost per client for services provided is $80 per day and the government reimbursement is about $75 per day creating a $5 daily gap per client. With approximately 375 clients enrolled, and 252 days of service in a year, this leaves an annual shortage of approximately $472,500. Over the past 10 years, the Minnesota Vikings have donated their gently used tablets, laptops, desktop computers and other miscellaneous technology to our program. This equipment, if purchased new, would have cost at least $150,000 and difficult to include in our already stretched budget. Because we do not have that expense, we are able to focus more of our funding on providing excellent services to the clients we serve.
The tablets are used to assist people who cannot use their physical body and engage their minds in meaningful activities each day. They are also used for education, including helping clients learn to read, write, and for communication of important wants and needs for those who cannot speak to the people around them.
Our program was closed for three months during the Covid-19 pandemic and clients could not attend in person so we provided remote services via Zoom. This service was critical in keeping people connected and engaged during a very difficult period. We were able to bring tablets to the homes of clients who could not afford them so they could stay connected to the community and still receive the meaningful services that they needed and desired.
One very important aspect of our program is employment support and it is essential that every person in our program be paid fairly for the work they complete. Thanks to the Vikings, our employees have the needed technology to log client work and training activities in real time which makes it more compliant with Department of Labor standards.
All of our employees and clients have access to the internet via laptops or desktops which are in nearly every office and workspace throughout the building. We are also able to offer laptops to our managers for better access in our building and when they are away from their office.
A personal connection to the MN Vikings organization is welcomed by our employees and especially our clients. Merrick has received many items including signed jerseys and footballs to use as prizes in our fundraising events, silent auctions, and raffles. Pre-Covid-19, clients were invited to the annual Punt, Pass and Kick contest and also to watch a practice, take a tour of Winter Park, and meet the players. This experience has left a permanent glow in the hearts of those who attended.
It is our practice to recognize and thank our supporters and we have a donor wall in the foyer of our building. The Vikings tile is displayed there as a reminder of how grateful we are for their generosity through the years. We extend our continued thanks to the Minnesota Vikings organization, and to Todd Hauck, IT Specialist for coordinating this effort.