"It’s pretty unlikely that PRG would have survived past 2009 without NAF’s technical assistance. Kate Barr helped me understand very quickly that if you don’t survive, your mission doesn’t really matter. In order to be able to further your mission, you need to be in a stable financial state."

Kathy Wetzel-Mastel, Executive Director at PRG

PRG is a responsive housing organization that combines bricks and mortar development with housing education and counseling to build neighborhood stability. Started in 1976 as a group of neighbors concerned about affordable, resident-controlled housing (Powderhorn Residents Group), PRG has grown into an organization that changes the way we think about community revitalization.

PRG was the first organization in the state to provide pre-purchase education classes to first time homebuyers. They also take on projects that their service neighborhoods deem as important—unique projects that address others’ visions, not just their own.

But like every growing organization, PRG has seen its share of ebbs and flows. PRG hit a rough spot from 2005-2009. Development projects were taking longer than expected and the organization was spending beyond its means.

Executive Director Kathy Wetzel-Mastel took over leadership in January 2009. Prior to becoming executive director, she was a member of PRG’s housing development team. New to her role and to organizational finance, she recalled that PRG had a line of credit with Nonprofits Assistance Fund. Short on cash, she called NAF for an advance on their loan. To Kathy’s surprise, NAF said no, but she took the negative response as a learning opportunity to turn things around.

Kathy knew that her skillset and the organization needed a serious crash course in nonprofit finance. She used several of NAF’s resources to make that happen, attending all of NAF’s public workshops and drawing regularly on the NAF staff’s expertise. “Michael Anderson, loan officer at NAF at the time, and Kate Barr were two super resources for me and for the organization. I could call either of them—and did frequently, sometimes several times a week.”

Today, after some tough decisions and years of hard work with NAF’s guidance, PRG is happy to report three years of consecutive surpluses.

At the end of 2013, they completed Spirit on Lake, the region’s first affordable housing for GLBT seniors—a project that, for several reasons, had been put on hold during the rough economic years. This year, PRG is excited about a project currently under construction, Greenway Heights—the first affordable housing on the Midtown Greenway and a major addition to the area’s stock of larger affordable apartments available for families.

PRG is around to carry out its mission and bring these community-driven projects to fruition in large part due to NAF’s help putting the organization’s finances on the right track.