REACH Pikes Peak, a nonprofit that served low-income families in the Colorado Springs area, is shutting its doors after nearly 56 years, citing funding pressures exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The nonprofit says it reached more than 10,000 people a year with job and educational services and help with rent and mortgage and other emergency needs.
But late Wednesday night the organization announced in a Facebook post it would permanently shut down.
"REACH finds itself facing an uncertain future, and the decision has become clear to the organization," the post read.
The uncertainty stemmed from several years of financial hardship as the organization struggled to secure funding and culminated in a permanent closure because of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
But the decision to close was not sudden or easy, said Erin Garcia, vice president of the nonprofit's board of directors.
"The assessment was very evident that it was going to be incredibly challenging if not impossible to move forward," Garcia said.
REACH Pikes Peak relied on funding sources including sponsors, grants and private donations. In 2017, it lost a federal Community Services Block Grant, which covered operating costs such as salaries, Garcia said.
Without the federal grant, finances were tight, but the organization managed to stay afloat for several more years relying on sponsors and private donors.
When COVID-19 struck other vital funding dried up, and community priorities shifted as the pandemic sparked more immediate needs.
"Given what we knew in potential funding and what we had already been denied in funding, it put us in a very precarious position," Garcia said. "Of course we have employees (and) volunteers who have been with us for decades. All of those considerations weighed heavily on us."
Garcia said the board decided it would be better to shut down now, rather than push the problem further down the road.
That meant closing the nonprofit's primary office at The Helen Hunt Campus as well as two satellite offices, one in Fountain and one in Calhan.
Services like the Fountain Office food donation site, which collects thousands of pounds of food weekly, would need to be filled by other agencies. The Salvation Army Fountain Valley Corps and Connections 4 Life Center in Fountain plan to help provide food for those who need it.
As for other services, the organization will try to provide clients with information about other potential resources in the area.
"We're very cognizant of the void we leave," Garcia said. "The beautiful thing about being in our community is that we have a number of nonprofits that can backfill and can pickup the load."