The Arc of Southwest Washington recently listed its central Vancouver headquarters for sale to potentially help solve the nonprofit’s financial struggles.
NAI Elliott is managing the sale of the facility at 6511 E. 18th St. It is listed for $2.2 million and advertised as a “light industrial facility offering office, assembly, warehouse and covered outside storage space,” according to a flyer. The nonprofit’s board president and interim executive director, John Weber, said that the Arc has substantial equity in the property. If the property sells and the Arc is able to stay afloat, it plans to rent a smaller space.
The local Arc, a branch of the nationwide nonprofit, serves people with developmental and intellectual disabilities including autism and Down syndrome. Over the years, the operation has become less office-based; resource guides and other staff work with clients in the community. They’re focused on integrating clients into their community and building their ability to navigate life independently. That kind of work means it’s no longer necessary to have an 8,087-square-foot office.
“That’s the direction we’ve been heading for many years now,” Weber said.
People using the Arc’s representative payee service occasionally come in to get checks, there are some support groups that meet at the office and there’s a twice-weekly walking group that takes advantage of the property’s proximity to the Burnt Bridge Creek Trail.
While the Arc may have identified ways to leverage some assets, it’s still billed $22,000 monthly for a commercial space at Vancouver Plaza that was originally intended for a thrift store, Weber said. Plans to open that store, which was championed by former executive director David Wunderlin, were scrapped after the lease was signed.
“It had us bleeding very quickly here,” Weber said.
The space remains vacant.
In early June, Wunderlin was fired from the Arc and later from Kitsap Community Resources, where he had been working simultaneously as its executive director, according to The Kitsap Sun.
The Arc, which has a history of financial turmoil, has been floundering. Weber said he’s working with attorneys to get a current handle on the nonprofit’s assets and liabilities, and determine how to move forward. The Arc’s creditors include the Arc of Washington State.
According to the nonprofit’s IRS 990 form for the fiscal year ending June 2017, the nonprofit reported $994,150 in assets and $877,055 in liabilities. Expenses, which totaled more than $1.2 million, outpaced revenue by $21,754.
“The purpose of this is to keep the Arc afloat. I’ve got a lot to do here,” said Weber, who’s been involved with the Arc for more than 30 years and has an adult son with autism.
A silver lining recently emerged.
The Arc of the Peninsulas, otherwise known as the Arc of Kitsap and Jefferson Counties, heard about its Clark County counterpart’s troubles and offered its assistance.
“They said, ‘We’d like to do something for you,’ ” Weber said.
After visiting a couple of weeks ago, the Arc of the Peninsulas bought miscellaneous products, including furniture and household goods, from the local nonprofit. It provided some “much-needed income” for the Arc of Southwest Washington, Weber said. The Arc’s warehouse is beginning to get cleared out. Its decadeslong relationship selling donated goods to Savers, the parent company of Value Village, is ending this month.
Although the future for the Arc it still up in the air, it plans for now to keep collecting goods from its donation boxes located throughout Clark and Cowlitz counties.