Eagle editorial: Rainbows’ remarkable return

Wichita needed Rainbows to succeed.
Wichita needed Rainbows to succeed.

The Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing of Rainbows United was one blow to the community among many in mid-2009, worrying parents of children with special needs who counted on the nonprofit organization’s expert care, therapy and other help. But now Rainbows deserves congratulations for its remarkable return to stability.

As The Eagle reported Tuesday, the 41-year-old organization recently paid off its IRS debt early and is working through other obligations. Survival necessitated hard choices, including the sale of two buildings, a 45 percent reduction in staff, and a reduction in budget from $14 million to a little more than $8 million. The financial mismanagement meant the board and staff had to rebuild some trust.

But Wichita needed Rainbows to succeed, and an array of financial and volunteer partners were willing to see that it did. A new spirit of transparency helped. Now it’s serving 4,400 area children and aiming for a bright future.

Rainbows and other social service nonprofits continue to face difficult challenges, including cuts in public funding. It will need help raising another $800,000 this year, including via the annual Blarney Breakfast from 6:30 to 9 a.m. Monday at Old Chicago near Kellogg and Rock.

But Rainbows is due praise – not only for fighting its way through financial catastrophe but for serving as an example for other troubled groups.

For the editorial board, Rhonda Holman