EMAN pays down debt, looks forward to fresh start

East Mt. Airy Neighbors (EMAN) remains on shaky financial ground at the start of 2011.

During the civic organization’s first monthly board meeting of the New Year, Treasurer Dutch Klugman said the group carried more than $18,000 of debt in 2010.

But Klugman explained that an unusual set of circumstances combined in 2010 to make matters worse for the nonprofit as it finishes up its first week of a new fiscal year.

The group, for example, had to pay off approximately $4,000 worth of fines and back taxes to the IRS for underpaying on its federal income taxes for part of 2008 and 2009. Klugman said EMAN had to unexpectedly play catch-up as a result of miscalculations made by a previous accountant.

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“The good news is that we are all caught up and we have paid all of the taxes we owe,” said Klugman.

Profits from Mt. Airy Day, a neighborhood-wide event the group has co-hosted with West Mt. Airy Neighbors for the past 40 years, were down. Executive Director Elayne Bender said fewer event sponsors and a slew of new city festival fees for things like food inspection ate away at the bottom line.

Klugman also explained that two of Bender’s salary payments from 2009 were paid out, raising the amount of taxes the group owed for the year.

To offset the debt, the group withdrew thousands of dollars from a long-time endowment fund.

“If it hadn’t been for a very nice capital gains distribution from our investment fund, we would have finished the year with an almost exactly $20,000 deficit,” said Klugman.

He added that he is already planning on withdrawing more money from the fund to cover expenses for the first three months of the year.

President Dan Muroff said the organization is committed to addressing its financial woes. “Every month, every quarter, this to me is our biggest issue,” said Muroff.

At previous board meetings, the group has discussed strategies to ensure sturdier financial footing in the future. These include increasing membership levels and applying for more grants.

The group is in the process of applying for a piece of a $300,000 grant program recently made available to Northwest Philadelphia nonprofits through the Justice Department on behalf of U.S. Representative Chaka Fattah.

Klugman said EMAN’s annual budget is typically around $30,000, but the organization has only been raising between $20-25,000 a year.

EMAN has historically relied on United Way contributions, membership fees and profits from Mt. Airy Day. They’ve recently started holding a fundraiser in early spring.

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