During the bulk of this class we have talked about the positive aspects of board involvement and looking to the future as part of their role. But what happens when events or conditions change which preclude the continued existence of the organization? Tough decisions and human impacts are sure to follow. The manor in which such stressful events roll out should be handled cautiously by the board along with the COE.
Roanoke is not immune to the closure or re-organization of nonprofit entities. Recently, the YWCA of Roanoke Valley announced a major change. In a move to reserve their mission, while unloading the Burdon of an outdated facility, they have negotiated a merger with De Paul Community Resources. This merger will allow for programs to continue to serve the WYCA’s current population, as well as, offer new ones under De Paul Community Resources. Some of the human impact of this particular merger involves the relocation of some of the female residents at the “Y”. Staying true to their mission, the YWCA has plans in place to assist these women during the transition.
Poor economic conditions have taken its toll on the Blue Ridge Housing Development Corporation. This nonprofit was created to assist low-income families to locate housing. The organization was also placed in a challenging situation when they were asked to return to the City, income generated to through grants provided to build housing. The City claimed Blue Ridge failed to return approximately $260,000 to the City and instead have re-invested in other programs. While the re-investing was meant to fulfill their mission, paying the money back to the city meant adding insult to their financial injury. The Board voted to dissolve the organization as the housing market continued to decline and the differences cannot be settled between them and the City of Roanoke.
As you can see, unfortunate circumstances will cause nonprofit organizations to flounder, or in better situations, alter their way of doing things. The proactive approach boards can have is to constantly monitor and react to internal and external circumstances. A wise decision a board should consider is to add a dissolution clause into their bylaws. In the unfortunate event that an organization must close its doors, this makes the process a lot less messy and much easier.