Homeward Bound of WNC has experienced a lot of change this year. In October, the nonprofit bought an apartment building on Short Michigan Avenue in Asheville, its first foray into direct property ownership. The move came in response to the area’s continual shortage of affordable housing. “We’ve never been in this business before, so it takes a different skill set for our staff, a different skill set for our board,” says Eleanor Ashton, senior resource development director for the organization, which works to combat homelessness.
But on top of that pivot in programming, notes Ashton, her nonprofit is also contending with instability in the landscape of donations. In the first quarter of its fiscal year, contributions have been lower than usual, she reports, adding that the shift may be due to tax code changes mandated by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.
“We were all expecting it last year, that we would feel this slowdown in donations, but we didn’t,” she explains. “What I think might have happened was people saw that they couldn’t deduct certain things that they had been able to before, and they saw how it affected them when they did their taxes last year. So they’re just being a little more conservative this year.”