Grants Allow Nonprofits The Luxury Of Strategy
Thursday, June 15, 2006
A million dollars can jump-start a lot of planning.
During the opening round of the city's initiative to provide every resident with a "medical home," D.C. officials announced grants last fall to seven nonprofit organizations already providing primary care in neighborhoods where such care is often in short supply. The money was to help with planned expansions or development of new health centers.
The grants are allowing the recipients to take a comprehensive, strategic planning approach -- with market assessments, business analyses -- that might otherwise be unaffordable.
"It's $65,000 for planning that we never had," said Laura Golightly, chief financial officer at Mary's Center for Maternal and Child Care.
"It's really opening up a whole new avenue for us as far as growth is concerned," said Flora Hamilton, executive director of Family and Medical Counseling Service, who anticipates a day when her organization will be able to make projections "more than one year to another."
Nine grants, ranging from $60,000 to $145,000, were spread through all but Wards 3 and 6. Only one paid for actual construction; for most groups, bricks-and-mortar funding will be part of the initiative's next rounds.
The initial recipients and the ways they are using their grants are:
Ward 1: Community of Hope, for space planning to accommodate added services and physicians; and La Clinica del Pueblo, for evaluation of its existing space and whether and where to locate a satellite program elsewhere in the city.
Ward 2: Bread for the City, to evaluate designs for a proposed addition to its Northwest Washington clinic.
Ward 4: Mary's Center for Maternal and Child Care, for an engineering study and market assessment of its Kennedy Street program for possible renovation or relocation in this community.
Ward 5: So Others Might Eat, toward equipment and renovation costs of an expanded dental clinic; and Bread for the City, to evaluate the feasibility of a satellite clinic in Northeast.
Ward 7: Unity Health Care, for market research and preliminary planning toward a new Hunt Place Health Center.
Ward 8: Unity Health Care, for market research and preliminary planning toward a new Anacostia Health Center; and Family and Medical Counseling Service, for a market assessment and business plan for on-site expansion or relocation in this community.
Alicia Wilson, development director at La Clinica, said she wishes her organization could have had such assistance before it bought and moved to its current site, a cozy, colorful building on 15th Street NW.
"There are so many things we could have done better," she said, and at less expense -- "and in three years instead of seven."