Newark Resilience Initiative
Since 2016, NFF and Prudential Financial, Inc. have partnered on the Newark Resilience Initiative (NRI), a unique combination of financing and leadership capacity-building. The initiative began with a series of financial skills-building workshops for 30 Newark-based nonprofits. Then, 15 of those nonprofits were selected, through a competitive application process, to receive a year of customized consulting to help them plan, problem solve, and address financial challenges.
In late 2017, these nonprofits also received $1.5 million in flexible capital grants, provided by Prudential, to increase adaptability and financial resilience, and advance their missions of providing critical services to the Newark community.
Learn more about the 15 NRI participant organizations:
NFF and Prudential are sharing learnings on financial implications of this work, spanning a variety of topics:
- The Newark Resilience Initiative: Supporting Nonprofit Adaptability in a Changing City
- Four Planning Considerations for Every Capital Project
- Bridging the Gap: Why New Jersey Nonprofits Must Look Beyond Trenton to Cover Full Costs
- The Price of Leadership Transitions: Managing Financial Health through Change
Place matters — Local nonprofits are often deeply embedded in the social fabric of their communities, having the place-based history, knowledge, and relationships to make change. These forms of intellectual and social capital are invaluable resources for nonprofits in all communities — and especially in communities like Newark where financial capital can be harder to come by.
Impact of economic development can lag for nonprofits — The effects of national, regional, and local economic conditions can have a big impact on nonprofit financial health and growth. Prosperity in the broader economy isn’t always felt immediately by organizations who rely on community support. During NRI, Newark experienced economic development in its downtown core that continues – yet local nonprofits are not necessarily the first to benefit, and continue to need the monetary, volunteer, and community support as they work to serve a changing city.
Facility owners have unique financial health needs and concerns — In addition to running programs and services, nonprofits who own substantial fixed assets are also in the facility management business. Facilities can be mission-critical for some organizations, and yet also can add financial burden for needed upkeep. As Newark’s recent economic development continues, rising real estate prices in some parts of the city present new challenges and opportunities for how to manage these assets as local communities experience change. Questions of when to buy, sell, and invest in facilities – and how to finance them – require extra consideration in Newark’s changing economic environment.
Local government funding patterns can hinder nonprofits — In a study, New Jersey nonprofits reported the highest frequency of government agencies not paying the full cost of contracted services. A 2015 survey of more than 70 Newark nonprofits found that these organizations also experienced significant delays in payment from federal, state, and local sources. These conditions are mirrored across the nation and hurt nonprofits’ financial flexibility to advance their missions and adapt to changing community needs. Advocacy for do-no-harm government funding practices and continued flexible support from private funders and donors are needed to help critical community services thrive.
Financial clarity can help manage leadership transition disruptions — Nationally our sector may be in the midst of generational leadership transition, as one report indicates. This dynamic is certainly at play among the Newark nonprofits with whom NFF partnered where half of all organizations had either experienced a recent leadership transition or were anticipating one during the time of the initiative. In these times of change, several clients found clarifying and telling their organization’s “financial story” as a meaningful tool to communicate internally and externally about current condition and resource needs in a time of uncertainty.