NFF in the City of Angels
A range of unique and shared nonprofit challenges
A variety of solo and partnered solutions
NFF has proudly brought to the Los Angeles-based social sector a range of creative thinking, empathy, funding, expertise, and partnerships to address the many facets and complex webs that build community strength and well-being.
LA County is a study in contrasts. On one hand, it is experiencing robust economic growth, a boom in real estate development, and unemployment that is almost back down to pre-recession levels. On the other hand, it has approximately 50,000 homeless people and severe inequity, with immigrants and other marginalized groups suffering disproportionately across such measures of well-being as employment opportunities, educational attainment, and health outcomes.
NFF’s work in Los Angeles illustrates the range of support we provide to organizations working on the local and regional levels to address inequities.
Health and Human Services
NFF has partnered with several organizations that are at the forefront of addressing social determinants of health in LA. Little Tokyo Service Center (LTSC) offers over a dozen community and social service programs, serving tens of thousands of people annually, and operates nearly 1,000 units of affordable housing. NFF’s $500,000 participation in a $1.5-million predevelopment loan led by Low Income Investment Fund will support LTSC through the initial process of constructing 120 units of affordable housing – half of which will be supportive housing – and 13,000 square feet of community services space in the Little Tokyo neighborhood.
In another part of town, Skid Row Housing Trust (SRHT) is providing supportive housing and services that allow people who have experienced homelessness, prolonged extreme poverty, poor health, disabilities, mental illness and/or addiction to lead safe and stable lives. SRHT operates 24 affordable housing buildings with over 1,800 permanent and supportive units. By bridging seasonal developer fee payments, NFF's financing will provide Skid Row with the critical working capital and cashflow support needed to continue delivering supportive housing and services to LA residents.
NFF loans have helped LA public and charter schools better serve California’s next generation. In 2012, a $12-million recovery loan helped Inner City Education Foundation, a network of 12 public schools in South LA, emerge from financial distress so its leadership could focus on long-term mission needs like upgrading facilities, improving student achievement, and implementing programs. The same year, NFF provided the charter school network Partnerships to Uplift Communities a $2-million line of credit for working capital and the acquisition and refinancing of two campuses housing five schools. In 2015, when PUC sought a financing partner to complete construction on three new school buildings in the Sylmar neighborhood, NFF’s $1.9-million loan helped ensure that more than 1,000 students were welcomed into 46 new classrooms, an auditorium, a kitchen, and playing fields.
Arts and Culture
In 2014, NFF partnered with the Los Angeles County Arts Commission, Colburn Foundation, and The Herb Alpert Foundation to offer arts-capitalization workshops and one-on-one consulting to a group of their grantees. We helped increase the nonprofit leaders’ financial knowledge and their facility to communicate their cases for financial support, using NFF’s State of the Sector Survey and information from DataArts to help them understand and articulate the challenges facing arts organizations nationally and locally, and the ways these organizations can successfully strengthen their capital structures, strategic planning, and adaptable business models.
Across the LA Social Sector
LA nonprofits with missions ranging from arts to education to health and human services to advocacy face many common funding challenges. Committed to ensuring the nonprofit financial strength and resiliency that’s critical to the city’s vibrancy, NFF and the California Community Foundation embarked on a two-year initiative to build leadership capacity in 24 very varied organizations. Through Financial Leadership Clinics, one-on-one consulting, and planning tools and frameworks, NFF helped the nonprofit leaders avoid common pitfalls, plan for short- and long-term needs, and own and articulate their organizations’ financial stories. One participant shared, “Since participating in this initiative, we have shifted some of our cultural practices. For instance, we are devoting the time to discussing and make the argument with the entire team about the need to fundraise not only for the programs, but the need to fundraise to ensure organization stability overtime while over assessing sustainable growth based on full cost analysis.”