The Funding Exchange (FEX), a network of 16 public foundations known for its grant-making, will cease all programs and operations effective immediately, according to an announcement from its board of directors.
The national office of FEX, based in New York City, had encountered shortfalls in financial support in recent years. In particular, the recession had a fairly big impact on the organization’s ability to fulfill its mission of providing grant funds to social justice nonprofits.
Casey Cook, chair of FEX’s Board of Directors and executive director of the Bread and Roses Community Fund, said via a statement that although the organization still has millions of dollars in philanthropic assets, “the Recession has affected the Fundraising Exchange the same way it has affected so many nonprofits. After careful and extensive deliberation, the Board of Directors acted unanimously to cease all programming and operations at the national office in New York.”
In an interview with The NonProfit Times, Cook further elaborated the decision to cease operations. “After years in revenue decline, we realized our business model was broken.” That business model primarily relied on investment gains to fund operations. This worked really well when the market was strong, Cook explained, but ceased to be effective when the recession hit and the stock market plunged.
Although FEX does have an endowment, it is meant for its 16 member funds located across the country. The endowment funds will continue to be used for that purpose, Cook said, and existing commitments the organization has made to donors or organizations (i.e., grants) will be honored.
Although work will cease at FEX’s national office, Cook, in a letter sent last week to all of the organization’s donors and stakeholders, that this isn’t the end of the group’s efforts. “Our philanthropic work will live on through the ongoing efforts of the 16 local funds which have comprised the Funding Exchange network.”
Founded in 1979, FEX bought together six local foundations to help advance progressive values within the mostly traditional philanthropic sector. The network has since provided more than $66 million in grants to approximately 10,500 grassroots organizations across the United States.