FISH is frugal

Our 46-year-old all-volunteer nonprofit has never had an employee. About 96 cents of every dollar spent helps people in need. The chart below shows how FISH of Cowlitz County spent its money in 2016.

2016 Expenses

     The pie chart shows how FISH of Cowlitz County spent its money in 2015.
     The local Health Care Foundation funded all of FISH’s health and dental care programs and the Community Foundation of Southwest Washington gave FISH $28,500 to help people keep their water and electricity turned on.
     Contributions from individuals, businesses, service clubs and churches exceeded $33,500. A federal government program provided $10,750 to buy food and the United Way chipped in $8,100.
     Administrative costs are a sliver of the expense pie. FISH rents a small office to store records and a computer the treasurer uses. An annual bookeeping review, insurance, postage and office supplies round out administrative costs.


A FISH food volunteer checks ID

Responsible Christian compassion

     FISH lives up to its goal of providing temporary emergency services.
     Afternoon volunteers who help people with FISH’s nonfood services have an alphabetized list of clients helped in the prior 12 months. The list allows volunteers to identify overusers. In addition, pharmacies, water departments and propane distributors alert FISH to people who abuse services.
     Records FISH keeps on all recipients tell the same story year after year: More than three-quarters of its nonfood clients are helped just once each year.
     FISH allows people to get food up to three times a month. Those who exceed the limit or fail to pick up their orders without calling to cancel are denied food the next month.
     In 2015 and 2016, no households exceeded the annual limit of 36 food baskets.

individual donors

Individual donors vital to FISH

     The chart above shows that contributions from individuals, businesses, service clubs and churches accounted for more than one-third of FISH’s total income in 2016. Individuals contributed $20,624 of the $52,898 non-grant revenue.
     FISH also received funds from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and from the United Way of Cowlitz County. Both sources were specifically for food. The federal money is allocated to agencies in low-income areas. Other local food banks also received FEMA funds. Kaiser Permanente also gave FISH money for food, specifically to buy more protein for households of four or more.
     A grant from the Health Care Foundation allowed FISH to assist with medical and dental needs. In the past 18 years, the HCF has given FISH of Cowlitz County more than $1 million.
     Late in 2016 the Community Foundation for Southwest Washington gave FISH $20,000 to help people keep their water and electricity turned on. That money will be spent in 2017.

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