Individual Advocacy Group, Inc. (IAG) provides training services, therapy, and residential programs for children and adults with severe behavioral, developmental, and mental health disabilities. Founded in 1995, the agency has a full-time and part-time staff of 350, and serves over 750 clients annually from 22 counties across Illinois, including Cook and metropolitan Chicago. IAG requires a high staff to client ratio due to the intense and individualized support required by its clients, half of whom are minorities and over 90 percent are low-income. The agency has a $15 million budget; the majority of IAG’s funding comes from the state government, leaving the agency with limited ability to build reserves for capital projects.
In 2007, IAG approached IFF for assistance acquiring two leased facilities to expand its Continuing Education Center in Romeoville, a city in the southwest suburbs of Chicago. The Center helps individuals with developmental and other disabilities participate in their community by providing life skills and vocational training. The Center was located in one of the leased facilities, and IAG wanted to expand its continuing education programs to the adjacent facility that the agency had been leasing for administrative space. IAG first approached a bank to finance the project, but could only secure 80% of the total project cost. In January 2008, IFF approved a $750,000 loan to IAG, financing more than 90% of the $810,000 acquisition costs.
With the loan from IFF, IAG reduced expenses. In place of an annual lease expense of $98,000, the agency’s annual IFF loan expense is $75,000, achieving a yearly cost savings for the agency of $23,000 while also building its net assets. With the two sites dedicated to programs, IAG doubled the size of its Continuing Education Center, growing from serving 35 to 80 clients in this location.