Nonprofit Ensures Future Through Endowment

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Payson Helping Payson, an organization that helps struggling families make rent or utility payments, has made some long-term changes to improve its financial stability.

A new endowment fund and a loan fund will allow benefactors of the organization, that for almost 15 years has been helping families in crisis, to continue the work far into the future.

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Payson Helping Payson is a nonprofit agency that helps local families with rent, utility or other payments during times of financial emergency.

The principal of an endowment fund donation is invested in safe, conservative investments on a permanent basis. Only the interest from the fund is used for distribution to clients. In this manner, the initial donations keep on giving.

"We will be thankful for whatever we get," said John Zilisch, PHP's president.

The loan fund allows any benefactor to loan cash to PHP. The funds will be deposited and the interest goes into a PHP general fund. The person making the loan can withdraw the funds at any time with 30 days notice.

PHP receives approximately $10,000 per year in donations from local churches, organization and individuals. With the exception of stamps and stationary, 100 percent of these funds are distributed to local families in crisis.

Clients are screened and helped strictly on a referral basis through the Community Assistance Program (CAP), St. Vincent de Paul, the Salvation Army and area churches.

Assistance checks are made out to the landlord, utility company, mechanic or other agency, never the client.

Since the nonprofit's incorporation in 1992 they have received a slew of thank you letters and occasionally someone who has been assisted by PHP in the past reimburses the organization.

PHP has also been able to provide the Arizona Public Service utility with letters of guarantee for deposits to begin service. In these instances the money is considered a loan until the client pays APS. Since the nonprofit's incorporation in 1992, only two people have defaulted on deposits.

"It says something for the system of giving people the opportunity to become responsible," said past PHP president Conrad Okerwall.

Clients can only apply for assistance once a year, which keeps the system from being "worked," Zilisch said.

PHP assists approximately 75 families, consisting of 230 individuals per year. The normal level of financial support is $150.

Contact John Zilisch at (928) 468-9028, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, for information on making an endowment or loan to PHP.

-- To reach Carol La Valley call 474-5251 ext. 122 or e-mail clavalley@payson.com.

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