A Vermont organization is facing funding challenges after the Trump administration abruptly cut millions of dollars in planned grants for a national teen pregnancy prevention program.
Youth Catalytics is a Charlotte-based non-profit that provides training and support to other organizations which help at-risk youth. Last year, it received the first year of a five-year grant to support groups working on teen pregnancy prevention. The grant was to total about $564,000 per year for five years, according to Meagan Downey, Youth Catalytics' director of special projects. That comes out to a total of about $2.8 million.
In early July, Youth Catalytics was notified by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that the funding was ending immediately. Downey says the cut came as a shock, and interrupted the group's work.
"We've had to cancel our trainings, cancel the development of resources to build healthier communities for young people, and [we're] figuring out where this decision came from and why it's happening," Downey says.
Youth Catalytics has sent a letter to HHS alleging that the cuts are unlawful because they were not authorized by Congress, according to Downey. A request for comment from HHS was not immediately returned.
Downey says the grant made up about half of Youth Catalytics' budget this year. The nonprofit had expanded since receiving the funds. Downey says the grant supported the salaries of several staff members, including the majority of her own. She says Youth Catalytics is reaching out to private donors to make up for the lost funding.