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February 18, 2010; Chicago Tribune | A group of Illinois nonprofits are feeling a chill—and it has nothing to do with the Midwest’s notorious winter climate. Instead, the state is behind in paying its bills—to the tune of $3.8 billion—and many of those waiting for the money are nonprofit groups that serve some of Illinois’ most vulnerable residents: children, the poor, the mentally ill and the elderly.  Ironically, even a state law that mandates that all bills be paid in 60 days or face interest charges isn’t helping get money to these truly needy nonprofits.  To make up the shortfall, the Chicago Tribune reports that organizations are searching “high and low for other sources of money. They’ve borrowed against their property, if they own any, and tapped the credit lines they have with their banks. Some have also have been slow to pay their own bills to landlords, utility companies and other vendors.”  Organizations that are struggling the most to keep their doors open might take heart in the success of David Terrazino, executive director of Youth Crossroads, an organization that counsels troubled youth. Out of desperation, Terrazino sent a fax to the state comptroller’s office.  He wrote: “Without your immediate assistance to expedite payment of some of these funds, Youth Crossroads Inc. will be forced to close our doors and discontinue services to high-risk youth and their families as contracted.”  The following morning, the funds had been deposited into the group’s bank account.  While good for now, Terrazino is worried what will happen the next time funds dry up.—Bruce Trachtenberg

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