Heard on Detroit Today with Stephen Henderson

What’s the State of Nonprofits In Detroit as Focus: HOPE Turns 50?

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Image credit: Jake Neher/WDET

Focus: HOPE faces serious financial challenges as the landscape for nonprofits continues to change.

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Vernice Davis Anthony (right) with Stephen Henderson (left)Laura Weber Davis/WDET
Laura Weber Davis/WDET

Vernice Davis Anthony (right) with Stephen Henderson (left)

Focus: HOPE celebrates its 50th anniversary on Thursday. The nonprofit has been pursuing its mission to overcome racism, poverty, and injustice in Detroit since 1968. 

But the organization finds itself at a crossroads in 2018. It’s in the middle of some major restructuring, including leadership changes at the top and decisions about the organization’s programs coming soon.

It’s finalizing a deal to sell its former headquarters building on its northwest Detroit campus as part of a larger effort to deal with financial troubles.

Focus: HOPE looks to stabilize its budget as the environment for nonprofits here in Detroit changes quickly.

There’s a lot of philanthropy and nonprofit programming happening here right now. But that also means more competition for existing resources. 

Sherri Welch, senior reporter with Crain’s Detroit Business covering nonprofits, joins Detroit Today with Stephen Henderson to discuss the changing environment for non-profits. She says that recent tax changes pose significant problems for Focus: HOPE and other non-profits.

There are things changing. If you look at tax reform… (it’s) likely to take away an incentive that many people had to make charitable donations,” she says. “Most experts are believing that standardized deduction is going to hit charitable giving for non-profits, and many count on that as part of their annual revenue mix.” 

Interim CEO of Focus: HOPE Vernice Davis Anthony also joins Detroit Today to talk about the organization’s plan moving forward. She says the goal is financial security and to return to their emphasis on workforce development.

Education and empowerment is the actual thread as to how we will act out our mission,” she says. “And a huge part of that is workforce development.”

Kelley Kuhn, vice president of the Michigan Nonprofit Association, also joins Detroit Today to talk about the different revenue streams for nonprofits. She says diminishing funds from individual donors have made nonprofits seek corporate relationships. 

Click on the audio player above to hear the full conversation.

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