June 21, 2010; Source: Gettysburg Times | Nonprofits in Pennsylvania were hit very hard last year by a 101-day state budget impasse. Contracts remained unpaid for months, deeply affecting many nonprofits and in particular the fragile economics of childcare agencies, some of which closed. Now, with a June 30th budget deadline looming, Pennsylvania nonprofits fear a replay. Local philanthropy, the Robert C. Hoffman Charitable Endowment Trust and the Adams County Community Foundation, which together provided loans and grants to help agencies get by last year also worry about the potential fallout if delays occur, because agencies’ reserves are depleted and their dollars pale against the cost of essential programs. According to Barbara Ernico, president of the Adams County Community Foundation and consultant for the Hoffman Endowment Trust, “Last year we contributed about $123,000 to help some agencies . . . That kept three programs open for one month.”
?As is true in many areas, communities depend upon a network of agencies, so local nonprofits are not only worried about their own budgets. “SCCAP (South Central Community Access Program) really took a beating,” said the YWCA’s Jeff Cann of a fellow agency. “They weren’t getting for their childcare and everyone else was looking to them. They got stuck with all those unemployment claims. It was maddening . . . Childcare is a lynchpin of the state economy and without it, people aren’t going to work. It doesn’t make sense to mistreat organizations that are providing services on behalf of the government. I hope they [the state] have their act together a little more this year.”
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But Kathy Nelson, Director of the United Way Adams County says, “The fallback plans from last year don’t exist this year because the payments were so late. Organizations haven’t had the chance to rebuild their reserves. If it happens again (this year) we’ll see closings and layoffs in July rather than August or September.”—Ruth McCambridge