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UMass Donahue Institute

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With a coast-to-coast reach, NFFS gives a big boost to nonprofits

The Institute's Nonprofit Funding & Fiscal Solutions (NFFS) group focuses on supporting the financial strength of nonprofit organizations. Led by Director Sharon Vardatira and her 20+ years of nonprofit consulting experience, NFFS provides customized consultation, coaching/mentoring, and hands-on intervention to enable clients to strengthen and expand their fund development capacity, manage their finances, and respond to funding crises.

While their client base includes organizations from across the country with a variety of missions and populations served, one of their current clients is a perfect example of the breadth of services they provide. Safe Harbor Youth in Alabama, is a nationally-recognized provider of direct services to youth victims of human trafficking.

"We provide assistance to Safe Harbor through our grant writing team which includes myself and several consultants," said Vardatira. "But, to be clear, our grant writing is not simply wordsmithing. It’s a combination of program design and program development consultation and writing.” In 2017, the proposal that NFFS wrote on Safe Harbor’s behalf was awarded a five-year, $584,000 federal Transitional Living Program (TLP) grant for homeless and runaway youth through the Dept. of Health and Human Services, Family & Youth Services Bureau.

Safe Harbor operates Koru Silver House TLP for youth, ages 16 to under 22, who are runaway, homeless, neglected, living on the streets, or victims of human trafficking. It is a place where runaway and homeless youth can live in a safe, nurturing environment while they complete their education, learn needed life skills, and grow towards becoming contributing, self-sufficient members of the community.

While NFFS has accumulated a wealth of experience in youth development program support, their growing clientele includes health educators, faith-based organizations, public agencies, and child & family programs.

“We work with each client to make sure that the program they are presenting is going to be competitive,” added Vardatira. “We look to ensure the design is innovative, that they have resolved (or have a plan to resolve) weaknesses, and that we have identified and communicated their strategic advantage in the field.”

Learn more about Nonprofit Funding & Fiscal Services.

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UMass Donahue Institute

University of Massachusetts Amherst

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Hadley, Massachusetts 01035

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