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A Graceful Exit

Sometimes, despite a lot of hard work and the best of intentions, nonprofit organizations are forced to close their doors.

This happened recently to one NPLF borrower, Pasadera Behavioral Health. Fortunately, through the efforts of former CEO Chuck Burbank and his staff, patients being treated at Pasadera have been moved to other providers, nearly all staff have found new jobs, and lenders and vendors are being paid in an orderly fashion. This positive outcome is due in no small part to Chuck’s integrity and that of Pasadera’s Chief Financial Officer Janet Wiseman and the agency’s Board of Directors.

Pasadera’s closure is the result of a “perfect storm” of events that were not foreseen when it came to NPLF for a loan in the summer of 2015. Like all behavioral health providers, Pasadera was preparing for the transition to St. Louis-based for-profit Cenpatico as Regional Behavioral Health Authority (RBHA) from Tucson-based non-profit CPSA, which had been the RBHA in this region for many years. The transition to the new RBHA has favored organizations that are much larger than Pasadera, can more easily achieve economies of scale, and had more capital to weather the transition.

In addition, Pasadera was in a legal disagreement with a government entity about the use of its newly purchased campus, which prevented it from fully utilizing that space.

Chuck is a certified public accountant and has a master’s degree in counseling. He became Pasadera’s chief executive officer when two mental health agencies merged in 2013 to form the new organization. Since 2001 when he moved to Tucson from Wisconsin, Chuck had assumed greater leadership roles in one of the merged agencies, from clinical manager to CEO.

A Smooth Transition for Clients, Staff and Community

When Pasadera’s path became evident to Chuck, Janet, and the nonprofit’s supportive board, first and foremost on his mind was ensuring a smooth transition for clients, staff and the wider community.  “Our mission became more important than ever. We have had a great clinical reputation for 50 years and we wanted to ensure client and community safety,” said Chuck. “I feel good about what we’ve done.”

Many of the clinical programs, clients, and staff went to a competitor with economies of scale that allow them to provide services less expensively. Chuck knows and likes the CEO and believes it is an honorable agency that provides good services for clients. “That’s important because good clinical services improve the quality of life for people who need help. They help clients become functioning members of society and contribute positively to the community,” said Chuck, who is now the Chief Operating Officer for Spectrum Healthcare in Cottonwood, Arizona.

How NPLF Helped

“When everything was crashing, NPLF staff and board said ‘how can we help?’ That was not the response from others,” says former Pasadera CEO Chuck Burbank, CPA, MA, LPC.

Pasadera’s NPLF loan was unsecured, and open, transparent discussions ensued between Pasadera and NPLF staff and board and about how to secure it. “I came away from meetings with NPLF feeling hope. Their support was really important to me and I always felt that we were in this together. It was a privilege to go through this with them,” said Burbank.

The NPLF loan was repaid in full and ahead of schedule.