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IFMA Atlanta Teams Up With Local Non-Profits

Written by Heidi Schwartz. Posted in Facility Management, FM Alert, Professional Development, Technology

Tagged: , , , ,

Published on August 24, 2011 with No Comments

The Atlanta Chapter of International Facility Management Association (IFMA Atlanta) hosted the 4th annual Non-Profit Facility Summit to educate and inform non-profit organizations on proactive facility management practices. Each year, several million dollars are budgeted to manage and
 preserve the facilities from which Atlanta businesses and organizations operate.
“For most non‐profit organizations, facility expenses account for as little as 5% of the operating budget – and can balloon to 30% with unexpected repairs and equipment replacement,” explains Christy Jellets,
president, IFMA Atlanta. “We realized this was our
opportunity to make a difference in our community – to equip these organizations with the know how
and tools to manage ongoing upkeep, avoid unnecessary repairs, and establish realistic budgets so they can dedicate more funds to their good works.

“Too many non‐profit organizations lack a proactive maintenance strategy,” continues Jellets. The
primary focus of the Summit is to outline the components of a preventive maintenance manual that
helps to minimize or prevent unexpected repair and maintenance costs. Topical presentations and
discussions address both exterior and interior maintenance envelopes including:

  • Preventive Maintenance
  • Manual Basics
  • Maintenance Basics
  • Air Quality
  • Energy Services
  • Flood Prevention & Recovery
  • Plumbing & Heating
  • Commercial Flooring
  • Technology Management
  • Facility Grant Submissions
  • System of Standardization & Organization

Since 1997, IFMA Atlanta has used standard methodologies and member
resources to help more than a dozen non‐profit agencies, such as Decatur Cooperative Ministry (DCM)
and Atlanta Community Tool Bank (ACTB), obtain capital funding and make facility improvements that
they may not have otherwise been able to obtain or implement.

“The information shared at IFMA’s Non‐Profit Summit has real, direct impact on not only our bottom
line but those that we serve,” explains Beth Vann, executive director, Decatur Cooperative Ministry, a
faith‐based, 501(c)3 organization dedicated to alleviating and preventing homelessness. “The
knowledge gained ripples throughout our agency. We are now better equipped to prevent hardship or
disaster, negotiate effective contracts, connect with the most appropriate resources and identify
potential funding resources. All of this makes us better stewards of our resources.

“We’ve been able to implement much of the information learned and have already seen results in just 60 days,” continues Vann. Emerald Data Networks offered insight on how to save on T1 circuitry. DCM now taps a broker network to identify the most lucrative technology offer. “The organization expects to save over $3,000 in technology costs as a result.” RooterPLUS shared a plumbing and HVAC tip sheet that is now posted at the organization’s eight transition homes.

“Knowledge is a very valuable and powerful tool – especially for non‐profit agencies that always seem to
struggle with budgets,” explains Patty Russart, executive director, Atlanta Community ToolBank. “The
knowledge and resources imparted at these events are an investment into the livelihood and vision of
our organization. It is an invaluable program that enables us to be a more effective community
partner.”

Over the past four years, Atlanta Community ToolBank (ACTB) has gained compound knowledge that
enables the organization to be more self‐sufficient. Through attendance at the Summit and other IFMA‐
sponsored “Lunch ‘N Learns,” ACTB has amassed the knowledge to establish an effective maintenance
manual that enables the staff to plan and budget time and resources adequately to its’ building
maintenance and overall safety. Using this manual also helps nonprofits to reduce reactive maintenance
and focus on preventive maintenance which helps the building live its full lifecycle. Most recently, the
organization adopted the 5S System of Standardization and Organization in an effort to minimize waste. To date, ACTB has realized an immediate estimated 10%
reduction in waste that has resulted in an overall reduction in operating expenses.

About Heidi Schwartz

Heidi Schwartz

Schwartz joined Group C Media in April 1989 as managing editor of Today's Facility Manager (TFM) magazine (formerly Business Interiors) where she was subsequently promoted to editor/co-publisher of the monthly trade magazine for facility management professionals. In September 2012, she took over the newly created position of internet director for TFM's parent company, Group C Media, where she is charged with developing content and creating online strategies for TFM and its sister publication, Business Facilities. Schwartz can be reached at schwartz@groupc.com.

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