Together Again/to Gather Again
The SCNA Board is asking neighbors to help raise $75,000 at the May 6, 2021 Big Day of Giving to sustain Sierra2 operations into August and beyond.
COVID forced the closure of Sierra2 Center on March 13, 2020 and put a big dint in the books. The cancellation of rentals, events and classes in the closure’s early months forced a rash of refunds and depletion of Sierra2’s cash reserve. Staffing levels and hours were reduced by more than half. Business operating expenses were reduced, deferred or eliminated. Nonessential services and maintenance were put on hold to stabilize the net losses. Classes moved to virtual offerings.
Additionally, the major winter storm resulted in roof repair to the tune of $100,000, a big hit to our Reserve for Replacement Fund that had already been tapped to cover operational expenses.
The good news is that there have been rays of hope, generosity and government lifelines. Through focused and nimble staff work, Sierra 2 applied for and received a $12,000 forgivable loan from the city at the beginning of the closure. In May, we received $80,000 from the Paycheck Protection Program that enabled us to bring back most of the staff for two months while also assisting with utilities and other COVID related expenses, an important infusion to care for employees who have contributed so much to Sierra2 over time and who suffered during this trying time. An additional $44,000 grant from the CARES funding program followed and, in February, we received a second draw from the Paycheck Protection Program for $106,000.
During the Big Day of Giving in 2020, generous community donors donated more than $53,000 and an additional $18,000 to the Porch Picnic fundraiser in October.
Even with all these funding sources, the costs of continuing minimal operations, administration and managing the property have required a draw of $50,000 from SCNA’s Reserve for Replacement, that is normally set aside for major facility repairs and replacements, and we continue to operate at a deficit of between $3,000 to $4,000 a month, a number that could climb as high as $18,000 a month when the second Paycheck Protection Program loan runs out mid-summer.
Additionally, while Paycheck Protection Program loans are technically forgivable, and Sierra2 has applied for forgiveness for the first loan, until a loan is forgiven it shows as debt on the books. If they were not forgiven, that would add another $5,000 a month payment.
Dipping into the Reserve for Replacement Fund hinders our long-term ability to properly care for the property. We know that planned repairs and replacement costs for the facility over the next five years will range between $400,000 and $500,000, including major roofing and floor replacement as well as updated technology to accommodate new programs. In normal years, with income exceeding expenses, we could manage these expenses. But not knowing when normal operations will resume, this situation is tenuous.
We continue to apply for grants that become available from a wide variety of grant makers wherever we qualify. Unfortunately, these funds and other grants we have applied for cannot be used to replenish the Reserve for Replacement Fund. We are relying on the generosity of Big Day of Giving donors on May 6th to cover expenses until we turn the corner.
We are hopeful that the continued easing of restrictions will allow our tenants to increase operations and thereby permit a resumption of regular rent schedules. Our singular focus is to survive for as long as we need until we can turn survival into rebuilding and thriving.
With vaccines more available and case numbers declining, we are hopeful we are starting to turn the corner. Curtis Park neighbors were so generous last year. We hope you will support us again this year. Our goal is to raise $75,000. Will you help us turn the corner with a generous donation on May 6, 2021?