“It could have been a lot worse, but the shutdown was out of our control. This loan serves as our comfort cushion. I knew Nonprofits Assistance Fund was a resource if we ever needed it.”

Anne Sweet, Finance Director at HIRED

 

In the slow economic recovery, planning for funding shifts became the new normal for HIRED, a Twin Cities nonprofit that assists low-income jobseekers find and maintain gainful employment. However, like most nonprofits receiving substantial government grants, a state shutdown brought a lot of anxiety and uncertainty.

In the weeks leading up to the shutdown, HIRED prepared for the worst by developing policies and procedures to furlough staff, preparing for close out of the fiscal year and postponing invoice payments. With a staff of 155 employees, it was essential to make sure they had resources available to answer questions and concerns about the furloughs.  In mid-June, HIRED’s finance director, Anne Sweet, attended an Emergency Shutdown Briefing co-sponsored by Nonprofits Assistance Fund and the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits. With limited cash available, their current line of credit wasn’t going to be enough if the shutdown lasted longer than a month. HIRED applied for a $150,000 bridge loan to fund additional payrolls and overhead costs if necessary. “Our biggest challenge was monitoring our cash flow. Michael Anderson, our loan officer, was really helpful. Everything was smooth, from the application to signing the paperwork, he simplified the process,” recalls Sweet. “It (the shutdown) was a teambuilding experience. We always plan for crisis management but before we knew it, it was the real deal.”

While HIRED hasn’t needed to draw from their loan yet, Jane Samargia, executive director, explains they aren’t out of the woods; the new state budget brings a significant cut to the Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP), a major funding source, and they are still waiting to see how the federal budget unfolds. The most difficult part for HIRED was communicating to their clients how a shutdown would affect their daily lives while HIRED had to temporarily suspend program services.