Based in Philadelphia, EducationWorks (EW) offers programs and services that benefit children living in communities with high poverty rates and low levels of educational achievement. EW works with AmeriCorps to provide opportunities for academic enrichment, recreation, and social development; it supports school safety and violence prevention, truancy prevention, and after school programs. The positive effects of participation in EW programs are direct and measurable. In fact, teachers have reported that 90% of their students improved academically with EW programs.
Despite the undeniable value of its programs, EW, which is 90% publicly funded, faced a financial crisis last year. While EW continued to provide services, payment from government agencies had typically lagged, resulting in a receivable of $800,000 to $1.1 million. With a $10 million budget, EW was able to manage this.
However, in spring 2007, EW foresaw that the receivable was likely to swell to an unsustainably high level for at least four to six months because payments from certain government contracts were falling even further behind. When the receivable topped $2 million, EW's bank was reluctant to lend the organization more and EW was in a precarious position.
“During a last gasp effort to try to convince the bank to give us additional financing, one of the loan officers asked why we didn’t go to NFF,” says Marty Friedman, EW’s executive director. “So we did. And NFF responded, spectacularly. Now we are able to conduct our business without the risk, strain, and limitations of being cash-short."
NFF recognized the challenges faced by EW and other nonprofits that primarily rely on one source—in this case, government contracts—for most of their revenue. NFF provided a $1 million working capital loan that gave EW the liquidity it needed to manage its receivable and continue providing vital educational services.