david_lawrence.jpgVoters in Miami-Dade County overwhelmingly voted on Tuesday to make funding permanent for The Children's Trust.

Voters approved a ballot initiative reauthorizing the organization's funding by a margin of 85.6 percent to 14.4 percent. The vote ensures that the Trust will continue to fund more than 300 programs aimed at children in Miami-Dade, including its 211 parent hotline, healthcare teams and after-school programs in county public schools, early childhood programs and summer camps.

"It was a big win, which is really quite extraordinary," Trust Chairman David Lawrence said on Wednesday. "It sends, I think, a message, not only about the Children's Trust, and the good job that it has done, but also about what is possible even in these tough economic times."

Lawrence said the wide victory margin spoke to the community's confidence in the work the Trust has done, and the way it has managed its finances. The Trust is funded with $0.50 for every $1,000 in assessed ad valorem property taxes, and has an annual budget of just over $100 million. The funding formula was put in place in 2002, with a requirement that it be revisited in five years.

The Trust spent 91.5 percent of its budget during the last fiscal year on programs, and 8 percent on administration.

"I genuinely believe people will help and support and pay for things if they trust how the money is spent, if they have confidence that real gains will be made and that real gains will be measured," he said. "I think it was a wonderful moment for the community."


Pictured above is David Lawrence.