0 State of the Nonprofit World

One of the disproportionally impacted industries in Boston is the non-profit community.  From health services to education, advocacy and housing, furloughs and firings have skyrocketed, leaving only skeleton crews of management readying for a potential reopening with SBA loans and needed relaxation of distancing rules.  Not only are the providers affected, since they cannot deliver services traditionally, their respective constituencies are left to manage the best they can on their own in a tough economic environment.

Adding to the angst, spring is usually “fundraising season”, but with the inability to throw soirees, NPO’s small and large have been lamenting the loss of desperately needed funding.  Indeed, Northeast Arc’s Joann Simons recently noted the following about their capital raising:

“Due to current CDC social distancing recommendations we have made the difficult decision to cancel our 2020 Evening of Changing Lives Gala. The gala was budgeted to raise a minimum of $600,000 this year and we are now anticipating at least another $150,000 of unexpected expenses in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.”

In the education sector, which includes daily daycare for children & seniors, consultants assisting Boston Public Schools in the classroom and special education providers, the closed schools and buildings have completely halted their services, critical to a large swath of Greater Boston.  One bright spot was noted by WDHD TV (https://whdh.com/news/how-one-ma-school-is-creatively-teaching-special-education-students-during-covid-19/).  Bedford, Massachusetts’ Nashoba Learning Group has taken a page from the university world and embraced daily video support & learning online, enabling parents and caregivers to participate in supporting their families and loved ones with intellectual disabilities in home.

What does the future hold?  Even before Covid 19, we noted a wave of closures and mergers in the education and health services, such as The Home for Little Wanders acquisition of Wediko School in 2019.  Sadly, we suspect that many of the smaller privately funded NPO’s will close for good in 2020, and hopefully those services will be picked up, where possible, by the corporate size providers like ABCD, Eliot Community Services and Morgan Memorial Good Will, to name a few.


Christopher McMahon is a Managing Director at Boston Realty Advisors and heads the Non-profit Practice Group, supporting the missions of a wide variety of Boston’s NPO community leaders and organizations.  Mr. McMahon is a +20 year veteran of the Greater Boston brokerage industry.  He can be reached at cmcmahon@bradvisors.com and 617-721-6437.

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