Restructured finances restored grant funding

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“We rebuilt the organization to what it is today,” Haugh says of HOME’s leadership team.
Photo by Caroline Martin

Housing Opportunities Made Equal of Virginia Inc., an organization that combats discrimination, was facing a fiscal cliff when Andrew Haugh was hired in 2011.

“When he first came in, we were relying too heavily on our affiliated endowment,” says Heather Crislip, CEO of the nonprofit, which is known by its acronym, HOME. “We needed to diversify.”

HOME was drawing 15 percent each year from its endowment, the Virginia Equal Housing Foundation. Haugh, a CPA, calculated that, continued withdrawals at that percentage would leave the endowment depleted in six years, jeopardizing HOME’s longevity.

“He took a good look at the money, and we have been able to dramatically reduce the amount we rely on from the endowment,” Crislip says. “He’s been meticulous in looking at expenses and getting them down.”

Haugh’s biggest challenge was regaining the trust of U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which had cut off Fair Housing Initiatives Program (FHIP) funding to HOME in 2003. FHIP provides grants to organizations like HOME that assist people who believe they have been victims of discrimination.

To restart FHIP funding, Haugh had to get HOME’s finances in order. “We reduced our indirect cost rate by over 10 percent and our general and administrative support to under 5 percent [of total expenses], implemented a spending policy for the endowment and maintained a clean audit opinion for three consecutive years,” he says. “We also met with HUD officials to discuss our new leadership team’s experience in enforcement and government contracting.”

HOME was awarded a FHIP grant in 2012 and has received funding each year since. This January, for example, HOME got a $900,000 private enforcement initiative grant as well as a $125,000 grant for education and outreach.

Haugh joined HOME after serving as finance manager at Los Angeles Neighborhood Housing Services Inc. He has more than 30 years of nonprofit government contracting and leadership experience.

Haugh’s greatest strength is an ability to balance HOME’s financial challenges with the continued pursuit of its mission, says Angela Cain, partner at the public accounting firm Dixon Hughes Goodman LLP. 

“His ability to make decisions to maintain that balance is something I have seen and have great respect for.”

Haugh doesn’t get flustered easily, says Crislip. “He’s very steady. We were making dramatic decisions, and he was always thinking creatively in his solutions. He was always looking at the possibilities.”

In recent years, Haugh has worked with a new leadership team. “We collectively rebuilt the organization to what it is today,” he says. “We have financial stability for the next 10 years, a cohesive and experienced staff, and staffing patterns that minimize cost and maximize output.”

Compared with five years ago, HOME’s overhead has been reduced by 56 percent.  Its projected draw from its endowment has fallen 95 percent, more than $1 million, from 2011 when Haugh joined HOME.

Away from work, Haugh volunteers with Cairn Rescue USA and Pug Rescue Mid Atlantic, organizations dedicated to the rescue and rehabilitation of dogs. Since 2011, he has cared for three elderly Cairn terrier mix-breed dogs with special needs. He and the dogs visit a senior residential community every other week and a memory-care unit once a month. 

“It’s a little selfish on my part — the more I give, the happier I feel; it builds my self-confidence,” says Haugh. “Putting a smile on an elderly person or dog’s face makes my day.”

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