A Message from Board Chairman Zac Guevara
In most industries, when demand rises, revenue increases and pricing pressures ease and an improved financial picture follows. In the non-profit industry, however, when the demand for educational and social services increases, funding tends to decline. For example, our Family Services division helped 41% more clients last year even as our government funding declined by 12%.
In an economic downturn, government contracts are often eliminated or slashed and organizations are expected to do more with less. Foundations’ investment portfolios also shrink so they have less to give and may not consider new grants. Similarly, corporations watch their bottom-lines more closely and cut back on charitable giving. Individual donors are also understandably more cautious and may give fewer contributions.
Para Los Niños’ approach during the down-cycle has been to focus on the areas where we have the most control. We have targeted improvements in key outcomes, stringently managed costs, pressed for break-even financial results and focused on our core competencies. For example, despite government funding declining by 10% per student at our charter elementary school, our API scores improved significantly and reached a new high.
While a noteworthy achievement that matched available options, we may not be able to sustain our current level of quality programs without more financial support. We cannot cut any more without compromising quality or jeopardizing the government contracts that provide the basis for our funding. In order to sustain our programs, retain a superior staff, help more kids, and succeed in our mission, your goodwill and financial support is needed and greatly appreciated. Please know that the Board of Directors and staff constantly attempt to transform lives by helping children and their families succeed in school and life, no matter the family’s economic circumstances, or the larger economic picture.