At a time when the issue of drunk driving has become the focus of intense scrutiny by the public and the media, Mothers Against Drunk Driving will dramatically downsize its Wisconsin operation.
MADD Wisconsin Executive Director Karri Kinnard was not available to answer questions: the state office directed calls to Heidi Castle, vice president of communications at MADD's national offices in Texas. “We had to look at where are the areas that we can really continue to make a difference, and fulfill our mission,” said Castle. “Wisconsin continues to be a priority for MADD, because it has such a terrible drunk driving problem.”
Castle said MADD made the decision to cut full time staff in Wisconsin and seven other states based on the problems the nonprofit group is having during the economic downturn, meaning MADD will rely more than ever on it's volunteers. “Our volunteers can make things happen in Wisconsin,” she said. “Having said that, we definitely will bring resources from the national office to Wisconsin, to make as much progress as we can on legislation .”
While Kinnard and MADD's Wisconsin development director have been notified that their jobs will be terminated at the end of the month, Castle said MADD still has a number of volunteer led community action sites and trained victim advocates throughout the state, and a the state office will continue to be staffed by a victim advocate. In addition, MADD provides a helpline at 1-877-MADD- HELP, where persons who've been affected by drunk driving can speak to trained counselors 24 hours a day.