May 3, 2018; LoHud.com
In Westchester County, New York, charities are busy selling off their buildings. Most recently, the American Cancer Society (ACS) headquarters in White Plains sold for $2.5 million, according to property records. That itself is perhaps unremarkable, except that in the same city, the YMCA building and the March of Dimes headquarters are also on the market.
A spokeswoman for ACS, Lestrange Mack, said in a statement, “For many reasons, we are moving away from owned property and management, where we are responsible for maintenance, upkeep, etc.” It turns out that they’ll be renting the space back from its new owners for a bit. The YMCA of Central and Northern Westchester also cites the unsustainable costs of maintaining its building.
Still, why the sudden worry about facilities costs? We decided to dive a little deeper. We reported last summer that the March of Dimes was looking to sell its building in the midst of a structural deficit. It had run a deficit in 2015 of more than $27 million on its $214 million budget; that was followed this year by a deficit of $8,725,000 on a $178 million budget. Since 2013, it has lost a third of its asset base, plummeting from $153 million to $94 million.
Looking even further, the American Cancer Society has been running deficits that make the March of Dimes look risk-averse. The deficit the organization lists on its 2016 Form 990 is $54 million, and the previous year, it ran a deficit of $91 million with total expenses of $916 million. The prior two years were less astounding, with 2013 showing a deficit of only $4 million and the next year cancelling that out with a surplus of around the same amount. The YMCA has also run deficits for the last three years, though at a much smaller scale.
Lastly, when we took a look at the finances of the Boy Scouts of America yesterday to see why they might be seeking to invite girls into their ranks, we found a recent history of significant deficits there, too. This may be a trend worth watching among some of the name-brand nonprofits that have dominated the scene.—Ruth McCambridge