News Column

Maintaining Home Base

May 21, 2012


HispanicBusiness 25 Top Nonprofits

Social entrepreneurialism is alive and well—especially in the Hispanic nonprofit sector. While executives and presidents at our top nonprofits continue to use words such as "decrease" and "reduction," they expressed optimism for the road ahead.

Each May, HispanicBusiness compiles the Top 25 Hispanic Nonprofits list to highlight the social entrepreneurs who assist minority communities across the nation. Collectively, through government, the public, foundations and corporate funding, the 25 nonprofits raised $1.3 billion in 2011, up 26.9 percent from the prior year.

In 2011, the top 25 nonprofits employed 11,924 full-time individuals, compared to 10,029 the previous year. The nonprofits' total assets also increased to $1.2 billion from $950 million. Total expenditures for the top Hispanic nonprofits reached $1.3 billion, up 28.2 percent.

As expected, AltaMed Health Services returned in the No. 1 spot, making it seven consecutive years that the organization has reigned supreme. Making its debut onto the list is Acacia Network based in New York City.

Acacia recently was the recipient of the 2011 U.S. News and World Report Best Nursing Home Ranking.

To get a better glimpse of what is on the minds of our 25 top nonprofits, HispanicBusiness reached out to a few execs featured on the top 25 list.

Chicanos Por La Causa President and CEO Edmundo Hidalgo said funding has decreased in the past five years, but the nonprofit has adjusted accordingly. In particular, he noted changes in the corporate giving process, which is now finalized up to 12 months in advance.

"(This) means we have to get commitments earlier and deepen our relationships beyond the original decision makers," Mr. Hidalgo said. "Donations are coming with higher levels of scrutiny and documentation requirements. We literally have to account for the value of every dollar we take in for each sponsor."

The focus is no longer solely on the number of scholarships provided, he said, "but rather, we have to demonstrate the number of impressions and quantify the brand awareness a company receives from partnering with us."

Mr. Hidalgo said approximately 91 percent of Chicanos por La Causa's resources are funneled back into the community. The organization provides low- and very low-income individuals in Arizona and Nevada with a broad range of programs, including economic development, education, health and human services, and housing.

Making Do

AVANCE President and CEO Richard Noriega said that to cope with the overall slowdown in the economy, the nonprofit has had to diversify its funding stream.

"We have had to collaborate and look for partnerships to make the limited dollars have more impact," he said. "If you are able to demonstrate relevance, outcomes and output, that you can truly quantify that you are making a difference, then those organizations are the ones that get the funding because they have proven they can use scarce resources in a meaningful way."

AVANCE serves thousands of families in multiple states, including New Mexico, California and New York. Its focus is parent education and family support programs. Mr. Noriega said education has been one of the hardest-hit areas during this recession.

"As a nation we are not often focused on the five- or 10-year look over the horizon, but early childhood education is that decisive point that has meaningful and long-term impact that truly effects the Hispanic community," he said. "Almost every other investment we make in the social environment is treating symptoms or the collateral effects of not investing in early childhood education."

Finding Funding

Just over half of the top 25 nonprofits' funding derives from the government, followed by services at 27 percent and corporate grants at 9 percent. Individual donations have stayed at about 2 percent.

Ricardo Diaz, executive director of United Community Center (UCC), said that since 2008 the organization has experienced a 7 to 10 percent drop in funding. However, despite losses, UCC has maintained a balanced budget for 21 consecutive years.

"We have run several successful capital and fundraising campaigns that have come in on time and on budget," Mr. Diaz said. "With a strong board of directors holding experience in business and financial management, along with an experienced leadership team, we have been able to manage and anticipate the economic and funding changes and make the necessary adjustments to ensure the agency remains successful."

The bottom line is these Hispanic nonprofits continue to find ways to raise revenues to provide the much-needed services to millions of Hispanic across the nation.

Source: (c) 2012. All rights reserved.

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