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We are Blessed

July 16, 2009

By Mark Milligan

For many social services agencies the past year has been a very difficult financial period.  Fundraising has been difficult, in particular government funding has caused near chaos.  A state of emergency exists among many social service providers that heavily rely on State of Illinois Department of Human Services funding for their programs, and unfortunately, many of those programs have been cut or eliminated over the past several months.

We are fortunate at Bridge Communities to have developed a philosophy of never relying too heavily on any one source of revenue.  As a result, while we have had some funding surprises this year, our funding streams were essentially sound. Most importantly, at the end of the fiscal year we met and exceeded our revenue goals, and developed new funding streams.

A new funding source for Bridge was a $15,000 grant from the State of Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO).  That DCEO grant was used to repair client family automobiles.  A working, reliable automobile is a necessity for anyone who lives and works in DuPage County. Many of our client families come to us with no car or one that is very unreliable.  This grant provided us with funding to repair donated automobiles or repair autos that our client families already owned.

Bridge also was very successful in continuing to build a strong base of support from our individual donor base.  These relationships gave Bridge and opportunity to improve upon our response to the emergency needs of our client families during these very challenging times.

Bridge Communities’ fiscal year wrapped up on June 30th.  Our cash position is much stronger than in years past.  The Finance Committee had a goal to build a cash balance of $250,000 that equates a  three month cash reserve fund.  We finished the year with cash reserves of $299, 000.  This was partially due to a very strong Spring Campaign that had a “matching” component that was funded by three families.  The total match was $30,000.

Bridge also controlled its fiscal year operating costs. Expenditures exceeded the approved budget by only 3/10’s of one percent.  We are incredibly proud that we held our expenses so tightly, particularly with a significant increase that we experienced in utility costs for our 14 Transitional Housing Program buildings.  

Our fiscal plan is conservative for the upcoming year.  We continue to be optimistic for another successful financial year, but we are respectful of the effect the recession has on our faithful donors, funders and Program Partners.  As we plan for the future – we continue to feel very blessed!

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