Baltimore City and its nonprofit and philanthropic sectors have been challenged by several chaotic events over the past six months. The most significant of these have been the ransomware attack on the City’s information technology systems, an audit of Associated Black Charities’ management of the Baltimore Children and Youth Fund (BCYF), and impactful changes in Baltimore City’s political leadership.
The ransomware attack is causing a substantial delay in the normal operation of city contract and payment systems, among many other problems. And the BCYF audit is further delaying the processing of about $5 million in grant payments (which were already behind) to Baltimore’s communities.
Many of our fiscally sponsored projects, fiscally managed clients, and direct programs receive funding through contracts and grants with Baltimore City and/or were awarded funding through the Baltimore Children and Youth Fund.
Strong City Baltimore’s day–to–day operations have been acutely impacted in the wake of these challenges, which have also affected our initiatives and their community partners.
Daily, our staff are working with extremely delayed processing of city contracts, increased scrutiny of reports required to facilitate payment to Strong City and its initiatives, and a six–month lag in payments for work already completed.
Fortunately, Strong City’s fiscal sponsorship and management structures have cushioned some of the impact of these delays until only recently. Other organizations operating with reimbursable funding from Baltimore City started to feel the impacts of these challenges in April 2019, whereas Strong City’s initiatives have mostly continued with business as usual.
Now, Strong City is straining to maintain the cushion, and our initiatives have begun to feel some of the adverse effects. The situation necessitates Strong City staff spend large amounts of time to overcome the city’s reactions to these crises – working with the city and funders to verify and re-verify that invoices and reporting are complete and accurate, following up on delayed payments, and interfacing with city leadership to ensure accountability on contract and payment approval timelines. It has prevented our staff from focusing on day-to-day operations and has delayed our year–end close and audit.
We are working with Baltimore City, Associated Black Charities, BCYF leadership, initiative leaders, and other organizational partners to get these matters resolved as quickly as possible so we can return to our standard operations. We are also implementing new policies and procedures that will help us resume business as usual and be better prepared to address similar challenges in the future.
We hope that while these struggles continue to take their toll on Baltimore, Strong City, and our beloved communities, we can rely on the patience and trust of initiative leaders, vendors, and other stakeholders. Thank you for your continued support at this time.
Baltimore is strong and so are we.
Digital Media and Communications Manager
Initiative and Partner Inquiries:
Tyson W. Garith
Director of Operations