the marc logo with a rainbow in the middle

Monroe Association for ReMARCable Citizens, a nonprofit which is the only provider of services to adults with developmental disabilities in the Keys, learned last week that Gov. Ron DeSantis vetoed a $150,000 funding initiative for the program that had been championed by state Sen. Ana Maria Rodriguez and Rep. Jim Mooney.

The funding would have provided vocational training and supported employment services to our clients in our programs in Key West and Tavernier. 

MARC officials contacted their legislators and the Agency for Persons with Disabilities, but no one knew why the funding was denied. All funding is at the discretion of the governor, and MARC is grateful that he did approve an 11% across-the-board rate increase for organizations that serve the developmentally disabled. For MARC, that increase, known as the Live Healthy Legislation, comes to about $180,000. 

What is so confusing is that MARC has always met all of its deliverables on time and within the funding cycle for past legislative funding and has been audited for such and was always found in compliance.

Monroe Association for ReMARCable Citizens works constantly to supplement its budget through its plant store at 1401 Seminary St., Key West and its thrift store at the Coral Shores Church in Tavernier. Additional fundraising efforts are on the MARC Facebook pages @MARC Key West or @MARC Upper Keys, and on its website at marchouse.org, but none of our fundraisers has ever raised the amount of money that was vetoed.

The governor’s rate increase will be eaten up by the elimination of the $150,000. It will leave little room for staff raises, new staff or even the basic increases in insurance, gas, utilities or maintenance of our buildings and vehicles. “It is so heartbreaking that I cannot pay my staff the same wage as someone working at the local Starbucks, yet their love and support of the most vulnerable is so valuable,” said longtime MARC director Diana Flenard.

This $150,000 may not seem like a lot of money, but for MARC it is a make or break amount for this next fiscal year. We are asking that anyone who wishes to help us fill in the funding gap, please visit marchouse.org to make a donation or mail checks to MARC, PO Box 428, Key West, Florida 33041 or MARC, Box 851 Tavernier, Florida 33070. We are reaching out to anyone who can help. For more information, contact Diana Flenard at 305-294-9526 ext. 28.

Diana Flenard
MARC director