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"It’s worth every penny"

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In 1977, a community committee in Whittier, Calif. came together to learn more about a problem that had just recently been named: domestic violence. The Southern California Coalition on Battered Women had been formed the year before, and communities across the U.S. were just waking up to this ever-growing problem. The committee established a telephone hotline, and as calls began to flood in members wondered what to do with the victims. After some of the founders opened up their homes to the fleeing women and children, a new long-term solution was needed and in 1978 the Women’s and Children’s Crisis Shelter came into being. Since then, the shelter has provided safety, shelter and hope to women, men and children victims of domestic violence free of charge. The shelter and 24-hour hotline collaborate with other agencies to improve survivors’ health, wellness and economic stability; provide culturally relevant and supportive intervention; and provide educational information for the prevention of family violence.

“We are so grateful for all the hard work YPTC has done for us,” says Elizabeth Contreras Martinez, Executive Director. The shelter had used several part-time accountants, but it was hard to accommodate their schedules and they were not utilizing an updated accounting system. “I have a master’s in business but my emphasis wasn’t in finance,” she explains. “I know the mechanics of what a good accounting system should look like. It was hard for me to go searching for and interview a new accountant. I thought that there has to be an easier way.”

When she heard a YPTC announcement on National Public Radio she knew she had found her answer. “NPR is community-based and I trust what NPR reports on. YPTC works with nonprofits across the country and has a lot of history. I realized this was exactly what we needed.”

Contreras Martinez appreciates how well YPTC meets clients’ needs. They’ll find an accountant who is sociable and who will serve as the nonprofit’s advocate. If an Associate turns out to not be a good match, YPTC finds another one and it’s a smooth transition. If the Associate leaves, the Manager is in place to handle the file and find a replacement to pick up where they left off, so the organization doesn’t have to start over from scratch.

“I check in quarterly with the Manager, and that’s great,” she says. “Not only don’t I have to be the direct supervisor of the accountant, she has someone over her and an entire company with experts to answer her questions. That gives me great peace of mind.”

A challenge for many nonprofit boards of directors is that their members’ backgrounds aren’t in finance. Contreras Martinez asked YPTC if there was a way to make the financial reports more user-friendly, with a narrative explanation and a glossary of terms. “YPTC did that. It was the first time our board members were excited about the numbers and said they really understood. They were also very happy that we are now able to have an accountant present at board meetings. It’s been working very well.”

“Even though the service costs seem like a lot of money, it’s worth every penny,” she adds. “I feel like I have a Chief Financial Officer on my site even though I don’t have someone here full-time. She’s part of the team.”

“It’s really lonely being the Executive Director of a small nonprofit. With YPTC I feel like I have someone at my level who’s really looking out for the best interests of the organization.”


30-YEAR CONGRATULATIONS: “Keep up the great work – we need you!”

“I want to congratulate YPTC and ask them to keep supporting nonprofit organizations. Keep up the great work – we need you!”

— Elizabeth Contreras Martinez, Executive Director

Women’s and Children’s Crisis Shelter

Whittier, Calif.

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