CLARKESVILLE - Circle of Hope Executive Director, Suzanne Dow recently spoke to WCHM about the government shutdown, and its effects on nonprofit organizations in the community. With Circle of Hope operating with 65% of their resources coming from federal funds, the shutdown has caused many nonprofits to look for funds elsewhere, or to cut back on services provided. “We provide a service, expend funds for those services, submit a reimbursement to get a payment back that’s coming from the federal government allocations, and with the shutdown happening, many of those departments are closed,” Dow states, “so there’s no body to process those reimbursements.”
With the grants in place, and in order to get reimbursements for the things that have happened since the shutdown, Dow points out that all the nonprofits that receive government funding still need to provide those services, but that cash flow is the biggest hurdle. “As a small non-profit providing a high level needs service in the community, we’re expected to still provide the services, and we want to, we would need to, but we won’t be receiving those funds back in,” says Dow, elaborating that they would still be able to get the reimbursements, but not until the government opens back up and someone can process those claims. Also, due to expectation of the services still being provided, this makes any furloughs, or even a reduction in hours worked an impossibility as that would hinder all organizations from being able to provide said services.
With the uncertainty of how long the shutdown will extend, Dow points out the importance of future planning. “We’re really just trying to be strategic to try and make it last because we just have no idea how long this will go on. If this just goes on for months and months, I don’t think that there is a non-profit in the nation that will survive an ongoing federal shutdown.”
“Our board has been talking about this very strategically, and how we’re going to keep doing what we need to do, and spread that out as long as possible. We’re having to tap into all of our resources via a line of credit at the bank, cutting back on some things we’re doing,” says Dow, “we’ve already cut back significantly on the financial assistance to help victims with their needs.”
When asked how the community can help out, Dow says that they can accept all donations of anything that is an expense to them, from paper products, toiletries, hygiene items, sheets and pillow cases, as well as cash donations to help purchase such products during the shut down.
Donations can be dropped of at:
592 N Main St
And at WCHM
683 Grant St, Suite U