CFO returned nonprofit to a solid foundation
LARGE NONPROFIT/GOVERNMENT AGENCIES, Terry Hurley, Community Residences Inc.
- July 29, 2011
Community Residences’ very survival was in question when Terry Hurley joined the agency in 2006. According to President Dennis Manning, the nonprofit organization “was nearing the end of a decade of deficits and other operational challenges that could have easily meant the end of this proud, three-decade-old nonprofit organization.”
Community Residences provides services that enable more than 1,100 people in Virginia and Maryland with a wide range of disabilities to live as independently as possible.
Hurley had spent his entire career in the for-profit technology world, but he took up the challenge of using his financial know-how to put Community Residences back on a solid foundation. Within six months of being with the nonprofit, Hurley closed on a $14 million refinancing involving complex tax-exempt and taxable bonds. The deal significantly reduced Community Residences’ interest charges and improved its cash flow and financing for long-overdue capital improvements.
“When I came, our cash position was pretty stressed, and [the refinancing] gave us some room to maneuver and work through some program issues,” recalls Hurley.
The refinancing led to a $1 million capital improvement program that impacted almost all of Community Residences’ 30 properties, including the sale and purchase of several properties.
“We modernized and expanded the facilities for the people who were living in them,” says Manning. New kitchens, baths and other upgrades improved the lives of Community Residents’ clients, most of whom have mental health issues or development disabilities.
“When the service you provide is good quality, then you’ll get repeat consumers,” says Hurley. Community Residences’ occupancy rate rose from 85 percent in 2006 to 97 percent today.
Hurley’s contributions didn’t end there. Manning says Hurley immersed himself in the complex details of health and human services financing, Medicaid, mental health and intellectual disabilities services. “He did not limit this total immersion to the technical demands of his role of chief financial officer,” Manning says. “Rather, he worked consistently to learn about the texture and subtlety of both our business, and more amazingly, the day-to-day realities of providing services to adults with serious and chronic mental illness and severe intellectual disabilities.”
Hurley boosted team performance by replacing contractors with permanent employees and involving them in the financial side of the agency to build a sense of ownership.
“The more open we were, the better the financial results became because [the employees] could see things we couldn’t see,” says Hurley. “If people don’t tell you what’s going on, you never have a chance to improve it,”
He also worked to improve efficiencies. Under Hurley’s leadership, audit entries have been reduced by 75 percent and account payables are down by 90 percent. Administrative overhead has also been reduced, freeing up needed resources for direct services to Community Residences’ clients.
“In over 35 years of health and human services experience, I have worked with dozens of accounting and finance professionals,” says Manning. Hurley is “exceptional in his proven commitment to not only understanding but remarkably, actively and continuously embracing our mission to serve persons with disabilities.”