Leaders at the Indian Center in Lincoln say the agency will move to a reduced-service model due to ongoing financial problems. 

The Center has been struggling in recent months and the Board of Directors decided to move to part-time hours. 

The building will be open on a limited bases for community events like funeral and paid building rental activities, according to a news release sent Tuesday. 

According to the release, part-time staff will be laid off, and the role of the interim executive director, Georgiana Ausan, will also be reduced to part-time status, the release said. 

Plans also include releasing National Able employees, canceling AA meetings, the Community Diner, Foodnet, and the Emergency Food Pantry. 

The changes will go into effect immediately, and are expected to last until the Indian Center can generate enough revenue to justify reopening on a full-time basis. 

The Native Connections for Life Youth program will remain active and host programming activities at the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska’s Lincoln office location at 1701 E Street. 

At the December 9, 2018 public forum at the Center, Ausan said the center is facing significant past debt and back taxes owed, lost grants, reluctant funders and loss of trust from the community.

She said the cost of keeping the center open full-time exceeds the center’s current income.

The most recent program loss came when the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) notified Ausan that it would no longer use the center to distribute commodities.

CSFP said the Lincoln Food Bank would take over the commodities distribution program from the Indian Center.

CSFP is a United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) program which provides foods purchased, and distributed by the USDA.

The commodities program’s funding helped pay for indirect costs related to the center hosting the program in its building.

The commodities program also funded a full-time employee, who had to be laid off as a result of the loss of program funding.

In order to generate revenue for the center, the Board of Directors is considering a variety of possibilities, including selling property held by Indian Center Trust, liquidating unneeded assets, hosting fundraising events, and applying for grants and developing a new funding model.

On Tuesday, Ausan touted the center’s efforts in recent months to restore public trust and keep the center open, including establishing a new accounting system, creating financial oversight by an independent CPA, establishing a Community Advisory Committee to help guide the board and updating the center’s website, the release said. 

A list of programs no longer available at the center include:
? Foodnet/ Perishable Food Distribution Program- A full list of Lincoln/ Lancaster County
Pantry and Meal Sites can be found at www.lincolnfoodbank.org
? AA Happy Hour meetings- Moved to The Bridge at 721 K Street - 3rd floor.
? Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) - Contact the CSFP - DHHS Food
Distribution coordinator at 402-471-0189.
? Emergency Food Pantry – Contact Food Bank at 402-466-8170.

The next Community Advisory Committee meeting will be at the center on Wednesday, January 9, 2019 at 6pm.

The Board of Directors meeting will be at the center on Wednesday, January 16, 2019 at 6pm.

Both meetings are open to the public and all are welcome.