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Youth groups ‘stressed’

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The events of Sept. 11, 2001, had a major impact on nonprofits, but many groups serving children and youth in the Washington, D.C., area already were on shaky ground even before the attacks, a new report says.

The study by the Urban Institute in Washington, D.C., analyzes the fiscal health of more than 1,100 nonprofits serving children and youth from 1998 to 2000 and finds they were worse off than other nonprofits, and thus less able to weather the affects of 9/11.

More than three in 10 such groups posted losses in 2000, with a median operating margin of 4.5 percent, the report says, compared to 5.7 percent for the overall nonprofit sector in the Washington area.

About half the local providers surveyed saw their operating margins fall from 1998 to 2000, the report says, and some groups, including community health providers and preschools, saw steeper declines.

Groups providing crisis intervention or counseling services saw the largest deficit increases, with the proportion of groups losing money doubling to 34 percent from 1998 to 2000.

While revenues for the average child and youth sector grew by $366,000 from 1998 to 2000, and expenses grew by $302,000, average financial growth for the sector as a whole was more than double that, and average asset growth tripled that of the child and youth sector.

The report says nonprofits serving children and youth, as well as the funding and policy communities that support them, must prepare for future uncertainties that could harm these groups.

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