Serving Nonprofits. Strengthening West Virginia.

Delayed Grants and Reimbursements in WV

One of the primary concerns raised by nonprofits in West Virginia this year was delayed grant awards and reimbursements. Nonprofits have reported regular grant award delays ranging from 1 to 8 months after the grant period start date, meaning a grant whose funded activities start in July may be awarded as late as February. Receipt of funding has been reported as delayed 1 to 6+ months, requiring nonprofits to carry significant expenses associated with the grant without funding. Many small (and even some large) nonprofits have to regularly access lines of credit, take out loans, and even withhold or delay payroll due to significantly delayed reimbursements.

After being alerted to this problem, the West Virginia Nonprofit Association decided to take it on as one of our issues vital to nonprofits. Read on below for a timeline of the work we’ve done so far and what we hope to accomplish in the future. Do you have a story to share with us about how grant award or reimbursement delays are affecting your nonprofit? Email us your story. 

*12/14/18 – NEW RESOURCE: Nonprofit Reimbursement Assistance Document (Recommended steps to take to determine where your delay is likely taking place.)

Our Progress in 2018:

The WVNPA began to hear from nonprofits about the challenges they face from delays in grant awards and reimbursements

February – March
The WVNPA Board of Directors appointed an Ad Hoc Committee to investigate the problem. The first order of business was to determine the prevalence of the problem within the nonprofit sector. A survey was created and distributed to nonprofits

After weak survey participation, the WVNPA redoubled its efforts to get a stronger sample size. Responses grew six fold.

The WVNPA and Philanthropy West Virginia also convened the first meeting of the Impact Commission, a commission created by both organizations as a collaborative way to bring leaders from the executive and legislative branches of state government together with nonprofits and philanthropy to improve communication and service to the people of West Virginia. Both organizations gave state of the sector reports and the WVNPA highlighted the problem of grant award and reimbursement delays to attendees which included representatives from the Treasurer’s Office, Secretary of State’s Office, Governor’s Office, and State Senate.

The Ad Hoc Committee met and heard from Beth Bowsky, Governance Contract Reform Policy Specialist at the National Council of Nonprofits, to glean insights on best practices from other state associations that have addressed this problem.            

Using resources from the National Council of Nonprofits, the Ad Hoc Committee adopted the position of collaboration and developed a position paper on the issue:  Nonprofit Grant and Contract Reform Initiative                

Ad Hoc Co-Chairs and the WVNPA made visits to the House Finance Chair, the Treasurer’s Office, and the Governor’s Office to share the position paper and seek advice for next steps. The Governor’s Office requested 10 case studies to further study the problem.

September – October
The WVNPA submitted 10 case studies to the Governor’s Office on Sept. 12th. The cases were under review over the next 4-5 weeks. The WVNPA began hearing from nonprofits again that the problem was intensifying with new paperwork requirements from the Auditor’s Office.                                

The WVNPA and Philanthropy WV convened the second meeting of the Impact Commission. The main agenda item at this meeting was state award and reimbursement delays. Attendees included representatives from the Auditor’s Office, Treasurer’s Office, Governor’s Office, Secretary of State’s Office, DHHR, and several affected nonprofits. An open discussion led to a commitment from the Auditor and Governor’s Office to provide a summary of actions steps being taken to reduce the delays and recommendation of best practices on the part of nonprofit grant recipient which will be released at the 2018 Policy Institute taking place on December 14th in Charleston (click the link to learn more about the Policy Institute and register your nonprofit to attend).