Few Americans have been untouched by the positive impacts of nonprofit organizations, whether it be through 4-H and FFA, Scouts, the American Red Cross, their church, or Rotary and similar service organizations. Independent nonprofits are important players in virtually every community, providing support for health, youth programs, disaster recovery, education, and more.
Morrison is proud to have a strong and growing presence with these types of organizations. The growth of these services was not by intent at first, but it was natural; the list of organizations where Morrison team members serve as volunteers would fill a page. Several have previously worked for nonprofit organizations.
Nonprofits face many of the same challenges as for-profit organizations. Both have goals to accomplish and need funds to accomplish them. Both have boards they are responsible to, and may need assistance in preparing for an external audit or review or assistance in searching and placing key executives. Both need efficient finance and accounting processes and meaningful budgets. Both are stronger with strategic planning and organizational development support.
In addition, non-profits often depend heavily on grants, donations, and annual events for most or all of their funding. Many have been dramatically impacted by COVID-19 related shutdowns of events, while simultaneously seeing increased needs for their services. Morrison has helped many nonprofits through both the routine and extraordinary challenges they face. Following are a few of the nonprofits we’ve been honored to work with:
BONITA HOUSE Bonita House, Inc. (BHI), based in Oakland, California, is a private nonprofit mental health agency that provides specialized services to some of society’s most vulnerable people: those living with co-occurring psychiatric and substance use disorders. Founded in 1971 as an alternative to traditional psychiatric institutionalization, BHI has evolved into a specialized dual-diagnosis agency for the Alameda County community. Services offered include intensive residential treatment, independent living programs, housing and supported employment, outpatient case management, clinical services, and operation of wellness centers in Berkeley and East Oakland. Upon the retirement of their long-time Chief Financial Officer, Morrison was engaged to provide interim CFO duties including financial oversight and review, audit preparation, assistance with accounting software, policy and procedures documentation, and internal controls review. Presenting an additional challenge, Morrison’s services began in the first weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic and the related restrictions on in-person contact. As one of Morrison’s first new clients during the pandemic, services were performed entirely remotely. While Morrison has long provided both onsite and remote services, this was an opportunity to use that experience to help Bonita House manage this transition during an unprecedented time of societal uncertainty.
NAPA VALLEY FARMWORKER FOUNDATION Napa Valley Farmworker Foundation (FWF) is a nonprofit organization that provides education and professional development to Napa Valley’s winegrape farmworkers. Since its founding in 2011, FWF has reached more than 22,000 farmworkers and their families, and provided more than 3,000 hours of education through seminars, trainings, and other educational events. FWF is one of the only organizations in the country focused solely on serving the needs of farmworkers. As a donation based organization, FWF requires public and private funding to keep these programs going. Over the many years of working with FWF, Morrison has written multiple successful grants provided by the United States Department of Agriculture, California Department of Food and Agriculture, and Risk Management Agency, securing nearly $1 million in funding for the organization. Grant funds have supported trainings, conducted in both English and Spanish, on leadership/management, financial literacy, business planning, wildfire prevention, and English literacy, among others. Funding has also been used to execute mentorship programs for youth interested in starting a career in farming. Additionally, FWF has leveraged grant funds to engage Morrison in providing direct technical assistance to Napa’s farmworkers who are interested in applying for federal grant programs.
NORTH VALLEY COMMUNITY FOUNDATION North Valley Community Foundation (NVCF) is a nonprofit organization that serves California’s Butte, Colusa, Glenn, and Tehama Counties, through grantmaking, partnerships, and a variety of financial and philanthropic services. In recent years, NVCF has focused its efforts to respond to the many natural disasters occurring across the region. For example, NVCF opened the Camp Fire Relief Fund immediately after the devastating wildfire began so that people could contribute to relief and recovery efforts. Since then, NVCF has raised millions of dollars and issued more than $50 million in grants to organizations working with fire survivors. Additionally, NVCF is seeking to address the impacts of drought on the North Valley, which is under an Extreme Drought designation according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. To address these needs, NVCF engaged Morrison to apply for a California State Water Resources Control Board Urgent Drinking Waters Needs Project to provide needed water resources to 200 households in Glenn County with dry/impaired wells. The project was successfully awarded and NVCF received $1.8 million to haul water, install storage tanks for this water, and deliver bottled water to Glenn County residents who are lacking access to drinking water.
LONG VALLEY HEALTH CENTER Long Valley Health Center (LVHC) is a nonprofit Federally Qualified Health Center in rural Laytonville, California. Offering comprehensive primary care services, which includes medical, dental, and behavioral health, as well as outreach services, LVHC is a recipient of the Department of Health and Human Services’ Health Resources & Services Administration’s Quality Improvement Award. Morrison was engaged to perform a compensation review and planning project for the organization. The Morrison team worked to determine external equity to the relevant job market as well as to evaluate internal equity. The unique rural nature of the organization required that surveys and comparisons be made to similar organizations with a similar location demographic. Appropriate Cost-Of-Living Adjustments (COLA) were applied. A point ranking job analysis tool was also developed to examine internal equity. The Morrison deliverable was a new wage scale and the assignment of particular positions into the correct segment of the scale. Appropriate range spread and mid-point progression was applied, which created a baseline program that could be reevaluated and updated while still maintaining the integrity of the program.
BOYS & GIRLS CLUBS OF THE NORTH VALLEY Boys & Girls Clubs of the North Valley (BGCNV), an affiliate of Boys and Girls Clubs of America, is a nonprofit organization formed in 1995 to provide services, activities, and programs for youth in the “North State” region of California. BGCNV serves over 2,000 youth at 10 sites, focusing on after-school programs for those aged 6 to 18. Services are designed to keep members on track to graduate from high school with plans for the future, good citizenship, and a healthy lifestyle. On the departure of their Finance Director, CEO Rashell Brobst urged the Board to approve a more sustainable model to address depth and continuity in the finance and accounting functions, particularly in light of the tight market for qualified professionals. “This is the future for nonprofits,” said Brobst. “It’s the most reliable way to ensure dependable ongoing professional support.” Morrison’s initial focus was providing oversight over monthly reporting, review of the chart of accounts and processes, and finalization of the budget for the upcoming year. Since that time, Morrison has been involved in Board finance committee meetings, assisted with grant compliance, and helped prepare for the annual audit. Additionally, Morrison’s bookkeeping service personnel assist with bank reconciliations and other duties; Morrison now provides services ranging from Finance Director functions to bookkeeping.
Authors: Brent Morrison, Toni Scott, and Shawn Miller