Baptists say Sunrise Homes Short on Funding

Feb 27, 2014

The Kentucky Baptist Convention is starting a $5 million fundraising drive for the state's largest private child care agency.

Executive Director Paul Chitwood says Sunrise Children's Services, which is affiliated with the Baptist church, lost donations after the departure of its longtime CEO last year. Bill Smithwick resigned in December after floating a proposal that the agency open its employment to gays. The change was rejected by Sunrise's board.

Chitwood says "funding streams were severely damaged during the last three months of 2013." He said many donors did not give because they were unsure of Sunrise's future, and others withdrew donations in protest.

Chitwood says the agency has a funding gap of about $7.5 million. He is asking the state's 2,400 Baptist churches to raise about $2,000 each.