Reading a financial statement can be a bit like peering through the windows of a darkened house. You can see the outlines of furniture, but not their color or texture. Allow me to try to shine some light on the Children’s Law Center’s 2021 financials.
Children’s Law Center has long been a stable, effective, fiscally responsible part of our community. Over the past 25 years, we have directly helped more than 40,000 children and families, while addressing systemic issues that impact hundreds of thousands more. Yet nothing has tested us like the pandemic. DC’s children needed (and continue to need) us more than ever. Racial injustice exacerbated the issues our clients were already facing. Our staff needed new tools to effectively work remotely. And we were uncertain if our donors would be able to continue their generous support.
A second Paycheck Protection Program loan, now fully forgiven, gave us the confidence to meet these challenges head on. And our supporters answered the call: more than 1,500 individuals, law firms and corporations contributed to Children’s Law Center, including a healthy mix of new supporters and long-time donors who have been part of our success for many years. Even in the face of uncertainty, an increasing number of our supporters made multi-year gifts, providing Children’s Law Center with the long-term financial stability to commit to making lasting change for the children and families we serve in addition to addressing their immediate needs.
Our staff’s ability to deliver the high-quality legal services our clients deserve on a tight budget never ceases to amaze me. Less than $7.5 million allowed our staff to assist more than 4,000 children and families last year. What you don’t see in those numbers is that employees at every level of the organization also devoted themselves to making Children’s Law Center a more diverse, inclusive, equitable and anti-racist organization. Accounting rules categorize these expenses as general and administrative costs, however, we view them as critical to our programmatic success.
Finally, what matters more than accounting is our impact. I hope you will continue to partner with us, renew your support or begin investing in Children’s Law Center so that we can continue our fight for a stable family, good health and quality education for all of DC’s children.
2021 Audit Committee Chair
Board Treasurer (2014-2021)