by Cati O’Keefe
The prospect of higher property taxes brought on by the proposed Loveland school levy has spawned Tigers Helping Tigers, a charitable foundation formed to help those with limited resources pay their tax bills.
Cati O’Keefe is a resident of Downtown Loveland
The foundation was conceived by Art and Kim Jarvis. Art Jarvis is the president of the School Board, which proposed the ambitious new building master plan for the school system. “My job on the Board of Education is to make sure kids get the education they need to excel in the future. And that’s the purpose of the levy,” he says.
That’s his board member perspective. At home with his wife, however, he found their conversations frequently turning to the impact the financial ask could have on those with limited resources. “The community member Art Jarvis was bothered with the thought that the levy could cause fixed-income neighbors to suffer,” he says.
The Jarvises reached out to friends in the community, started sharing ideas, and Tigers Helping Tigers was born. Jarvis and the fledgling board (currently Kim Jarvis and Loveland residents Deb Ricci and Katherine Dannemiller) sat down with Greg Knake, executive director of The Care Center, and detailed their plan to raise $80,000-$100,000 to launch the new foundation.
Knake was on board immediately, framing the issue as a problem that needed to be addressed long before the current levy. “We’ve seen poverty grow 100% locally from 2005-2015 in Loveland,” he says. “Approximately 15% of kids in Loveland are on free and reduced lunch. This is an eight times faster increase than in urban areas.”
We’ve seen poverty grow 100% locally from 2005-2015 in Loveland. Approximately 15% of kids in Loveland are on free and reduced lunch.
Knake believes the proposed tax relief adds another spoke in The Care Center’s service wheel. “We are trying to bring help and resources to families teetering on the edge, and do it in a targeted way by getting people back to work or into a better job, giving them life skills, and breaking the cycle of poverty with one-on-one coaching and mentoring,” he explains.
The Care Center, which Knake describes as a faith-based organization, is collocated with the non-denominational North Star Church on Lebanon Road. The center is in the midst of a fund-raising endeavor itself, with a new facility slated for completion October 2020. “Our strategy employs best-practice research that has started organizations locally, like CityLink and the Healing Center, and is focused on bringing resources together under one roof,” he says.
Knake highlights the synergy between Tigers Helping Tigers and The Care Center: “ We already have relationships with many of the families who would qualify for assistance from the foundation,” he says. “We have the forms and processes in place needed to prequalify families–plus financial coaches and mentors–because hopefully this isn’t just a little bit of help on taxes but is also integrated with financial coaching to get them to an even better place in all parts of their lives.” (While The Care Center encourages people to discover and use its services, participation in the program is not a prerequisite for assistance through Tigers Helping Tigers.)
Tigers Helping Tigers board members are equally pleased with how the two organizations dovetail.
While The Care Center encourages people to discover and use its services, participation in the program is not a prerequisite for assistance through Tigers Helping Tigers.
“I am passionate about The Care Center’s impact on our community, and Tigers Helping Tigers is just another piece in assisting the marginalized, says Ricci. “The Care Center embodies the culture of our community, which generously gives back to those in need. The work of the Care Center team has helped so many cross the bridge of poverty to thriving in life. Having a strong education system is vital to our youth in reaching their greatest potential. This paired with the resources of The Care Center represents a community I am proud to be a part of.”
Dannemiller, who also serves on the fund-raising executive team for Nest Community Learning Center, believes the partnership will pay dividends for the Loveland community. “We have put six kids through the Loveland school system and stayed for the quality of the schools,” she says. “The levy is a hardship, but bridging the gap for people on limited incomes through the Care Center is a natural fit. The organization takes care of people who need help and creates a continuous path for them to get on their feet. Combining our program with theirs will extend help to people in a way that is impactful.”
At the end of the day, it is immaterial whether the current levy passes, fails, or gets kicked down the road to return in another iteration. Real need exists now.
The process of pondering cost versus value on the levy has, for many citizens, served as a reminder that levies–even modest ones–threaten the fragile existence of some community members and families. At the end of the day, it is immaterial whether the current levy passes, fails, or gets kicked down the road to return in another iteration. Real need exists now. Please consider donating to Tigers Helping Tigers and The Care Center. Inquiries regarding donations, receiving services, or volunteering can be made through Greg Knake at firstname.lastname@example.org or Art Jarvis at email@example.com .