Kentucky Baptist Homes for Children has been caring for at-risk youth since the Civil War ended. But last year, when then-director Bill Smithwick proposed changing the hiring policy to allow openly gay people to apply for positions, it caused a backlash.
Now the home has a new name, and more than $7 million less in funding.
Sunrise Children’s Services, which used to be Kentucky Baptist Homes for Children, recently went a through a major controversy over its hiring policy. Smithwick resigned and new leadership took over, but Sunrise is facing a more-than $7 million budget shortfall.
“At the end of last year, that hurt. There is no doubt that hurt,” said Sunrise Acting Director Dale Suttles. “But I will tell you that we’re so encouraged.”
Encouraged because the Kentucky Baptist Convention is launching a fundraising drive to help Sunrise. It’s called “Shine” and it includes a video featuring kids helped by Sunrise. It’s being sent to more than 2,000 Baptist churches.
The churches have recommitted to donating to the home, in exchange for its original hiring policies that forbid gays from being hired.
Sunrise could face the possible loss of government funding which is the bulk of Sunrise’s $27 million budget due to its discriminatory hiring practices.
The “Shine” fundraising campaign starts in May.
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