Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Nonprofits Juggle Funds, Services over Budget Impasse

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Nonprofits Juggle Funds, Services over Budget Impasse

Article excerpt

Every Child Inc., a nonprofit social services agency based in East Liberty, places at-risk children in foster homes and pays the families for expenses they incur to care for the children.

Typically, those payments are covered by contract payments that Every Child receives from Allegheny County for arranging the foster placements for families in crisis. The county, in turn, is reimbursed for those costs by the state of Pennsylvania.

But with the state budget impasse now in its fourth month, Every Child isn't getting paid and is fronting the family's costs out of its own budget.

To keep its own balance sheet in order, the nonprofit has tapped its line of credit, curtailed hiring and put office technology upgrades on hold. Recently it took out a $100,000 emergency loan.

"We're doing everything we can to make sure we can take care of children at risk," said Laura Maines, executive director of the nonprofit that has a staff of 62 and an annual budget of $3.8 million.

Every Child is one of many nonprofits bracing for an operating crisis if the state budget stalemate isn't resolved soon.

According to a survey released Monday by the Greater Pittsburgh Nonprofit Partnership and the Forbes Funds, nearly 60 percent of human service and community development agencies said they were experiencing cash flow issues already and another 26 percent expect they will by November.

Some said they would temporarily stop providing services or shut down if the budget is not passed by next month.

Kate Dewey, president of the Forbes Funds, an affiliate of the Pittsburgh Foundation that provides management assistance to nonprofits in the region, said people served by nonprofits "are losing services that help meet their basic needs and security."

The survey was distributed to about 200 nonprofits in Allegheny County and the results were based on 43 responses.

Asked what steps their agencies were taking to deal with funding gaps, 44 percent said they had cut administrative costs as of the first week of September.

Fourteen percent had reduced staff hours or postponed payroll, and 14 percent had already reduced services. …

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