In 2023, Whitman-Walker plans to open the doors to its largest health care and research center yet – on the St. Elizabeths East campus. They detail behind-the-scenes financial planning with EagleBank during OMCP’s Small Business September.
The Anacostia Health Center “will showcase a triple expansion of care for us east of the river,” said Naseema Shafi, CEO of Whitman-Walker Health.
Although the nonprofit has served Southeast residents from its Max Robinson location for nearly 30 years, the new 118,000 square foot center will support clinical research and medical, behavioral health and dental services in a single building. “This is an opportunity to remove all barriers that prevent the community from accessing health services,” said Ryan Moran, CEO of Whitman-Walker Health System.
Shafi and Moran, along with Terry Beverly of EagleBank, told WTOP how the nonprofit developed a financial strategy to support the $35 million investment to bring the new center to life and offered advice. that can help other nonprofits and businesses.
The mission defines the journey ahead
The nonprofit has been on its way to launching the new Southeast facility for more than a decade. “An organization like Whitman-Walker doesn’t wake up one day and decide this is a project,” Shafi said. “But it’s waking up with more clarity around the desire to get there faster.”
To that end, Whitman-Walker focused on overhauling both its organizational model and its financial strategy.
From a financial perspective, the nonprofit organization worked with Beverly, senior vice president and head of market at EagleBank, to outline a plan to operationalize its vision and mission while leveraging its assets. real estate. These planning discussions kept Whitman-Walker’s mission—to provide health equity and access to health care for traditionally marginalized or underserved communities—at heart.
The goal was not for Whitman-Walker to become property developers for real estate development, Beverly said. Instead, he said, the effort has focused on answering one question: Do we have assets we can leverage to drive this mission, and can we better fulfill this mission than we don’t do it today?
The plan evolved over time and built on the work the nonprofit had done with EagleBank over several years to build a solid financial foundation, Shafi said.
“When you have a partner like EagleBank that you can trust, who is both willing to take risks and willing to tell you when you can’t, you can really have more honest conversations,” he said. she declared. “In the nonprofit community, it’s really helpful.”
From a business perspective, Whitman-Walker also restructured its organizational model in 2018. It brought in Moran in late 2021 to lead the organization’s clinical research, education, policy and fundraising, while Shafi continues to focus on patient care services.
The restructuring and financial plan is about “creativity and how we take that mindset that we have as a creative organization to think about how we can deliver more, better and differently to the community and really look at all the resources we have and thinking about leveraging those,” Moran said. “In some ways, it’s a pretty natural evolution for Whitman-Walker because of who we are. And in other ways, it’s very different from other small nonprofit health organizations in the world. region “
4 Tactics for Building a Strong Financial Foundation in a Nonprofit Healthcare Organization
What lessons have been learned along the way as Whitman-Walker has established a strong financial framework and developed its new sprawling healthcare facility?
Together, Shafi, Moran, and Beverly came up with four takeaways that could help other nonprofits and businesses tackle similar activities, particularly in the health sector:
- Lead with purpose: This is key to ensuring the right financial approach, Beverly said. “Stay true to your mission, understand what your goals are, and work toward accomplishing the mission.”
- Recognize the need to rethink your business model: Even organizations rooted in legacy have the opportunity to innovate in how they structure themselves to achieve future goals, Moran said. “Link your mission and your strategy but continue to evolve so that your legacy becomes your future promise.”
In Whitman-Walker’s case, infrastructure changes were needed to effectively operationalize the vision and mission, Beverly added. “Whether you’re a not-for-profit or for-profit, this is a great thing to remember: make sure you have the infrastructure in place to be able to reach out to your bank and say, ‘How do we fund our vision ?” “
- Work closely with your finance team: Regular communications are paramount, Shafi and Moran said, to ensure planning incorporates Whitman-Walker’s expertise in healthcare and medical research and EagleBank’s in finance and banking.
Close collaboration began before the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure the nonprofit could successfully mitigate unforeseen challenges, Beverly said. The partnership works, he added, because the collaboration ensures that EagleBank can provide financial services and products that allow the Whitman-Walker team to deliver services in the way they want.
- Be prepared to adapt to circumstances: In the nonprofit and healthcare worlds, there is a duality when it comes to planning and managing finances, Shafi said.
“The most important thing every day is money,” she said, adding, “Nonprofits are mission-driven organizations, but there has to be a margin. So you have to be able to stop and really think ahead.
To discover more information for entrepreneurs, startups and SMEs shared during OMCP’s Small Business September, click here.
EagleBank is an Equal Housing Lender and Member of the FDIC.