Non-Profit Takes a Loss After Selling Building

By: Carly Stephenson Email
By: Carly Stephenson Email

HARRISONBURG,Va. (WHSV)-- At the beginning of the year, the Fairfield Center was working to renovate a warehouse in Harrisonburg, but in March, the group sold it at a loss.

This building would have housed other non-profits too as a way to expand services.

"Unfortunately it didn't work out with the slow recovery and fewer grant monies available and increasing costs, we just decided as a board that it became too risky," said Tim Ruebke, the executive director of the Fairfield Center.

He said he's disappointed money raised by the community won't be used to help others.

"Did an initial fundraising campaign. Unfortunately with the sale of the building, we were able to only really cover our debt obligations," said Ruebke.

They paid $630,000 in 2011 and the building sold for $625,000 in March, but after the initial purchase in 2011, Ruebke said things changed.

"Timing of the economy, the slow recovery, the grants just not being on the table," explained Ruebke.

Another part of the struggle is that the General Assembly didn't include any money in its budget for mediation centers. As Ruebke and Christine Poulson, the executive director of the Virginia Association for Community Conflict Resolution, look at other options to expand services, they say funding is always an issue.

Currently, the center loses $100 per court case. In 2013, they helped with 700 cases. Poulson says conflict resolution through mediation saves the courts time because civil disputes or custody problems can be resolved at the center.

"The courts are really struggling. There aren't as many judges as we need, the cases are backlogged in many communities," said Poulson.

Renovations to the warehouse were also too costly.

The Fairfield Center is hopeful renting space elsewhere will work.

When asked which non-profits they'd work with, Ruebke said they are still working on partnerships. For everyone who donated for the purchase of the warehouse, at least $5,000 of that is gone.


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