Awash in Red Ink a Year Ago, Here Is How Dallas Habitat for Humanity Has Worked to Get Its Own House in Order

Mission creep — and the $10 million in unsecured debt that it created — shook Dallas Area Habitat for Humanity to its core a year ago.The nonprofit’s aggressive experiment to expand construction far beyond its traditional volunteer-built model had vaulted Habitat among the area’s largest home developers and won it rave reviews from a City Hall staring down an affordable housing crisis.But underneath that dazzling success, Habitat was increasingly gasping for air as it sunk deeper into a sea of red. What no one wanted to face — at least until new CEO Dave Crawford took over 18 months ago -- was that Habitat was in no position to help prospective homeowners until it got its own house in order.Crawford first sounded the alarm on Habitat’s financial mess last summer in an email to core volunteers. He announced cost-cutting measures such as terminating five members of its 120-member staff and putting its huge Hampton Road headquarters on the market.When Crawford sat down with me last August to discuss the nonprofit’s losses — including $2.3 million in 2016 and $2.6 million in 2015 — he acknowledged that 2017 wouldn’t be any better. Sure enough, when the audited tax report was released at year’s end, the nonprofit was $2.7 million in the red.But Crawford was steadfast in that same interview with me that he and his team would pull Habitat out of the ditch. A year later, it seems they have done just that.The headquarters, on the edge of booming West Dallas development, sold in May for $10.2 million, with the provision that Habitat could remain as a tenant. The latest tax return is still in the auditor’s hands, but Crawford says that when Habitat closed the books June 30 on the 2018 fiscal year, the nonprofit is back in the black.  Continue reading...

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