Headwaters Foundation for Justice
An ongoing challenge for nonprofits across the country is to make the right financial decisions that will help them sustain their social purpose, and help them ensure their financial health and organizational preservation. Sustainability is especially important during times of transition, whether from leadership and staff changes, or due to economic and societal issues impacting the communities being served. One organization that has faced such change in its thirty-eight-year history is the Headwaters Foundation for Justice (HFJ), a Minneapolis-based nonprofit whose mission is to amplify the power of community to advance equity and justice. In 2015, HFJ was experiencing sustainability issues. It was a perfect opportunity for the organization to look at their financial systems in a fresh light and shore up their practices for future sustainability.
When all factors were analyzed, an executive decision was made to incorporate outsourced accounting services—with All In One Accounting. Because of Foundation vulnerabilities discovered, HFJ engaged three AIOA team members—an Accountant, a Controller, and a CFO, moving HFJ from a completely internal accounting role to a blended internal resource working in conjunction with an expanded outsourced functional financial team. Goals were created for immediate impact on HFJ’s financials, to both stabilize and to create a stronger platform to sustain and expand their outreach. These initial goals included: cleaning up their accounting records, processes, getting their year-end closed; completing preparations for their upcoming audit, working to ensure it was a successful one; and updating financial system platforms to support their day-to-day activities and meet board review requirements.
During the first phase of work, AIOA’s Controller and CFO were heavily involved with day-to-day operations. As a result of this work over the years, as an organization, HFJ has flourished, able to expand their work and mission knowing their financial health is stabilized and on track.
Parts of the original team, the Controller and CFO, are still strongly collaborating with the organization. According to Melanie Accola, AIOA CFO, “The HFJ team has come so far, and we’ve
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