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An Award-Winning Team Effort Saves a Nonprofit

August 1, 2019 / by Elliot Hershik

Supporting Strategies wins awardIt's always gratifying to receive an award for your work — especially when you had no idea you were even nominated. But that was the case recently when our Supporting Strategies | Chicago Far West Suburbs learned we had received the Turnaround Management Association (TMA) Pro Bono Transaction of the Year award for our role in helping a distressed nonprofit straighten out its financials and position itself for sale.

Assessing a Community Asset
West Suburban Senior Services (WSSS) in Bellwood, Illinois, had long been a valuable community resource. The nonprofit has provided adult day wellness support for seniors in western Chicagoland since 1972.

When some of its government funding dried up, however, several key executives and staff members departed. WSSS fell behind and missed several deadlines. It would be very difficult for any organization to find a buyer with those unmet obligations hanging over it.

Providing Nonprofit Bookkeeping for a Common Goal
A group of local management consultants, including WSSS board members and several TMA members, eventually got involved in an effort to salvage the organization. They recognized that the first order of business was to straighten out the books. They turned to Supporting Strategies | Chicago Far West Suburbs for their expertise in nonprofit bookkeeping.

We worked with tax and audit providers, the existing bookkeeper and the board to patch things up and get everything classified correctly, which is critical at a nonprofit. We had to do restricted funds and make sure various transactions were not only classified against the correct expenses but also against the correct revenue sources. Over the course of several months we worked with WSSS on everything from reconciling the checkbook to providing a cash-flow analysis that other members of the team used in trying to arrange a buyer — which, in the end, they were able to do.

A Proud Moment
Established in 1988, TMA has nearly 10,000 members in 52 chapters worldwide, including 32 in North America. According to the organization, TMA "worked for months to assure that the turnarounds and transactions nominated for these awards were properly vetted in a highly competitive field of excellent submissions."

"We are especially proud of the work that these TMA members have done to bring distressed organizations back to strong economic health and are happy to promote their efforts through our annual awards," said TMA Global CEO Scott Stuart in a TMA press release.

So I guess I have a right to feel proud, too — although, to be honest, we didn't do anything for WSSS that we wouldn't have done for any other nonprofit client.

Topics: Chicago Far West Suburbs, Nonprofits

Elliot Hershik

Written by Elliot Hershik

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