THE MODEST NEEDS 2018 ANNUAL REPORT

Introduction

In keeping with our commitment to operational transparency, Modest Needs publishes an annual report which is freely accessible to the public at large both via our website or in hard-copy.

The purpose of this annual report is to update interested persons on our prior year's program service achievements and to report on other significant accomplishments by Modest Needs in 2018.

Our Mission Statement

At Modest Needs, we work to prevent otherwise self-sufficient but low-income households from entering the cycle of poverty and to strengthen the communities in which these persons live. We do this by offering two specific grant types:

  • The Self-Sufficiency Grant: Our Self-Sufficiency grant is our hallmark grant and helps low income workers to afford short-term emergency expenses that would otherwise pose an enormous burden to the applicant;

  • The Homecoming Heroes Grant: Our Homecoming Heroes grant is designed to assist persons returning home from active military service with short term expenses they may incur as they adjust to civilian life.

Modest Needs in 2018: Preparing for the Future

At Modest Needs, FY 2018 was all about preparing for the future, about taking the steps that Modest Needs' directorship and I knew would be critical to Modest Needs' ongoing success. Our decision to pursue these specific goals in 2018 was driven in part by an unexpected medical issue on my part. In 2018, I was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins lymphoma, and suddenly, I found myself forced to undergo round after round of intense chemotherapy as we worked to force the cancer into remission. These treatments meant that, during certain periods throughout the year, I was away from the office for extended periods of time, and during these absences, we quickly realized that over the years, Modest Needs had become so used to my "being there" that we'd never really planned for the possibility of an extended absence on my part.

Recognizing that no organization should ever find itself in such a position, Modest Needs' directorship and I immediately created a succession plan and began training Annemarie Galvin, our truly extraordinary Associate Director, to perform all of the functions required to operate the organization, such that, should something happen to me, the organization itself wouldn't even notice my absence. We began this lenghthy process in earnest in mid-2018. Ms. Galvin excelled at every task we put before her, and by year's end, all concerned were confident that, should I ever find myself facing a medical or other emergency, Ms. Galvin could take over as Modest Needs' director at a moment's notice. Simultaneously, we began training other of Modest Needs' employees to perform certain of the functions that had previously been assigned only to Ms. Galvin, and so forth.

By the end of 2018, we were comfortable that Modest Needs - an organization that provides a "safety net" for hard-working families in short-term financial crisis - had an operational "safety net" of its own. But even as we were working to create this operational safety net for the organization, we were working to craft a new funding model for Modest Needs - one that would ensure that Modest Needs would be perpetually able to reach the largest number of people in need possible on an absolutely minimal operating budget. In other words, we trimmed our expenses to the point that Modest Needs itself could operate comfortably on the funds made available to us from our individual donors, as opposed to depending on major grantors to fund our operating costs.

As it turns out, Modest Needs is already among the most efficient organizations in operation. We don't really incur many costs beyond payroll, the health insurance we provide our employees, the webservers that power our website, and the costs associated with maintaining a small office. But in New York City, the cost of maintaining even a small office can be overwhelming. So, after careful consideration, we ultimately determined that one of the best ways for us to cut costs would be for us to give up the office we'd occupied since 2005 and relocate instead to a small, private office in a co-working space.

Suffice to say that it didn't take long for us to realize substantial savings as a result of this decision. Case in point: the flat rate we now pay for a perfectly adequate office and all related expenses, including utilities, is now 52% LESS than we'd previously been paying for the same services in the space we leased nearly 15 year ago, at a time when co-working spaces did not exist. Via these and other cost cutting measures, we were able to reduce our operating budget to its lowest level ever, while smart investments in technology made it possible for actually to substantially increase the number of applications we were able to accept at ZERO additional cost!

Throughout 2018, Modest Needs integrated these cost-cutting measures into our operation while implementing a new fundraising strategy: rather than spending time writing grant requests / reports for major donors, we instead, we reached out more frequently to our individual donors to showcase urgent requests for help that were set to expire, normally in three days or less. And the results of these major operational shifts speak for themselves. Though revenue did decline slightly in 2018 (we expected this to happen because we did not seek any major grants), we processed and funded approximately the same number of requests for help in 2018 that we processed in 2017, while the cost to do that work decreased by 18%!

We are now more confident than ever that, thanks to these new operational models and the extraordinary work of our team, Modest Needs is now better prepared for the future - whatever it holds - than at any period to this point in its history. Our focus for 2019 will be on new fundraising models, and we look forward to sharing the results of our work in this area with you next year. Until then, and as always, I want to thank you personally for your kindness, generosity, and ongoing support of the very important work we're doing together at Modest Needs. Without you, this work would NOT be possible.

--Dr. Keith P. Taylor, President / Executive Director (31 October 2019)

2018 Financial Information at a Glance

Income and Expense Categories Amount
Income from Direct Public Support $998,737.00
Other Program Service Income $0.00
Other Income $0.00
Total 2018 Income $998,737.00
Program Service Expenses (91.39%) $912,711.00
Management / Administrative Expenses (4.52%) $45,036.00
Fundraising Expenses (4.09%) $38,663.00
Total 2016 Expenses $996,410.00
Net Assets & Fund Balances, Beginning of Year $82,845.00
Net Assets & Fund Balances, End of Year $83,566.00

You may view a breakdown of the functional expenses listed above by accessing our FY 2018 Form 990, linked below:

Supporting Financial Documents for 2018

Please note: all documents below are in PDF format and can be viewed via the free Adobe Acrobat Reader.

  • View our 2018 Form 990 (Warning: Large File - May Take Time to Download)

Donor Privacy Policy

Modest Needs has long maintained a strict Donor Privacy Policy. However, because this policy is listed within our Terms of Use and sometimes is missed by our donors, we include it in our Annual Reports for their reference:

Modest Needs respects the privacy of our donors. To that end, Modest Needs will not sell, rent, loan, give away, or otherwise disseminate the personal information of our donors, including their names, mailing addresses, email addresses, contribution amounts, or any other data of any kind to any entity for any reason whatsoever. Persons who choose to contribute to Modest Needs may rest secure that their data will never be shared with any other entity under any circumstances, ever.

Modest Needs Board of Directors

Current as of 1 November 2018

  • Charles Cissel, Chair (Independent, Voting)

  • Rosa Ng, Vice-Chair & Chair of Audit Committee (Independent, Voting)

  • Maria Castillo, Treasurer (Independent, Voting)

  • Thierry Mellon, Board Member (Independent, Voting)

  • Rebekah Hoffman, Board Member (Independent,Voting)

Modest Needs Key Employees

  • Dr. Keith P. Taylor, President

  • Annemarie Galvin, Associate Director and Compliance Officer

  • Simona Andrejic, Director of Development

Would you like a hard copy of our finalized 2018 Annual Report?

If you do not have regular internet access but would like to receive a hard copy of the Annual Report above, along with accompanying materials, please send your request to:

Modest Needs Foundation
120 E 23 St, FL 5
New York NY 10010

We will provide a hard-copy of our 2018 Annual Report along with all attachments to anyone who requests them at no charge. You may request a hard copy of this report by writing to us at the address above, or by phone at (844) 667-3776, ext 2.