A Community Center’s Sudden “6 Month” Closure Leaves Allies Wondering

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February 18, 2014; Indianapolis Star

NPQ has noted a rash of relatively unexplained closings of small nonprofits serving local communities. In some situations, such as the one at the Women’s Resource Center in Fort Collins, Colorado, this leaves stakeholders trying to pick up the pieces after decisions have been made. In this case, Joni Collins, the executive director of the Martin Luther King Community Center in Indianapolis, announced to people at the Black Expo meeting that the center would close “for six months.”

The center serves seniors, children, and families in need, and evidently is important enough that Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department Chief Rick Hite, who also attended the meeting, expressed concerns that even a temporary closure of the nonprofit would affect crime in the area. In fact, Hite said that the IMPD would be willing to assist by sharing some resources with the center. “The programs are critically important to the young people in the community,” Hite said. “We’ll reach out to see if there’s anything we can do to help.”

The center’s programs include job readiness and pre-employment training, help with attaining GEDs, after-school programs focused on improving reading skills, health and fitness, art and recreation, and programs for seniors.

The Rev. Charles Harrison of the Ten Point Coalition says that the plan is apparently for the center to reopen, but he’s worried about this happening after a six-month hiatus. “This is a shock to the community,” Harrison said. “It will create a void in one of the areas of the city where we have a high level of crime. What are those people in that area going to do?”

So many questions remain. Are you seeing these kinds of closings in your own community? Let us know.—Ruth McCambridge

 

  • Gigi Pedraza

    As an organizer working with the Hispanic community in Georgia, what I have seen is not only small non-profits closing but also non-profits growing too fast to be sustainable and effective; becoming a “do-it-all” type of organization with minimal impact which later translates into an empty carcass since organizations are unable to sustain the growth and be consistent with their mission.