The Four Horsemen of the Nonprofit Financial Apocalypse

Clara Miller

8 pages, 2010. Nonprofit Finance Fund, 70 West 36th Street, 11th Floor, New York, NY 10018. (212) 868-6710,


   The Four Horsemen of the Nonprofit Financial Apocalypse (808 Kb)

As the recession loomed, Nonprofit Finance Fund (NFF) realized that its clients—borrowers, financial advisees, and grant recipients—had been exposed to a virulent flulike virus. The financial crisis was like a pervasive, all-encompassing malady. And like health workers fighting a true epidemic, NFF’s clients would be exposed to the disease and expected to fight it simultaneously. There was no vaccination program, although there were some swift and thoughtful efforts by funders to maintain funding levels, release restrictions on grants, and provide real-time relief. And it was well understood that the disease could be fatal.

Like flu sufferers, organizations with preexisting conditions were likely to be more vulnerable. Flu fatalities and close calls were more common among those suffering from, for example, chronic asthma. And similarly, the economic H1N1 epidemic (or financial “plague”) was likely to hit certain organizations harder. NFF’s funder partners and Community Development Financial Institutions colleagues saw the same patterns.