ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — One by one, members of 19 Central Florida nonprofits stepped up to the front of the room to receive a certificate Friday, marking the end of a financial health course they hope will make their organizations more sustainable.
For two months, they attended classes from board structure to grant writing organized by UCF’s Center of Public and Nonprofit Management.
Officials say the average nonprofit lasts just five years before many collapse due to a lack of financial resources.
“If they don’t get the money, they’re not going to be able to sustain themselves to be able to offer the service that they offer,” UCF’s Dr. Maritza Concha, who directed the class, said. “There’s definitely that lack and that emptiness we are trying to meet.”
The class’ existence came from a recommendation by the Orange County Citizens Safety Task Force, which first convened several years ago.
Community members urged them to put more resources into struggling neighborhoods. The task force realized the resources were there, but the constant turnover made them ineffective.
The nonprofits that participated this year had focuses that included human trafficking, youth mentorship, cancer awareness, mental health, and DUI awareness.
“We’re trying to find a way to move forward every day,” Bill DeMott, the founder of the Keri Anne DeMott Foundation, which began a year after the college student was killed by a drunk driver, said. “If we don’t do what we’ve been doing, then Keri’s just a statistic, and then someone has to start over.”
The next step for the nonprofits will be applying to Orange County’s grant programs to seek funding.
Concha said the application period for next summer’s course would open in April.
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