The past year proved to be a perfect storm for a small support service for low-income residents and their children known as the Logan Family Center.
After 25 years of providing a toy library, themed events for kids, a preschool and other family resources, the center at 50 S. 400 East in Logan was presented with a series of obstacles that led it to decide to make this summer its last.
One of those was the coronavirus pandemic, which forced the staff to rework the center’s overall program and offer services in a different way. Also, the center’s longtime director had to step aside due to personal issues, and its new director has run into some outside life demands of her own.
But those were actually just bumps in the road compared to a fourth obstacle.
Last year, new director Coral Hanson received notice from the Internal Revenue Service that the Logan Family Center had lost its tax-exempt status due to the absence of 1099 filings over the previous three years.
“Our treasurer was an accountant who filed our 1099s every year and also did our payroll for free,” Hanson said, explaining she first discovered the discrepancy when she needed copies of the forms to complete grant applications only to find there were no copies available and the accountant would not respond to requests for records. This was followed by an official notice from the IRS.
The loss of tax-exempt status meant the center could no longer rely on the grants that supported most of its programs.
“We had a talk with the board and told them how hard it is to fulfill our mission while trying to get our tax-exempt status reinstated, because this prevented us from getting the money to keep our programs going,” Hanson said. “Anything we did had to come from sales, and we were focusing more on that than servicing the community. So the board on April 2 voted to dissolve and try to find a good home for our assets through other nonprofit organizations.”
The center completed its last free preschool program on April 21 but will continue monthly parenting classes through October. It also plans an eight-week summer program beginning on June 8 that includes a summer camp and storytimes. On July 30, they plan a 25th-year celebration that will also serve as a farewell to the community.
The Logan Family Center — often confused with the Family Place Utah, which is headquartered in Logan and aids young abuse victims, among other services — started out in 1996 as a resource library for low-income families located in a small space above a Main Street bank. Over time, it evolved into a toy lending library, a preschool for children with parents present and a provider of various other classes and programs for families.
From the bank building it moved to a portable classroom at Wilson Elementary School, then to a nearby home purchased by the school district.
Hansen started out there as a Vista volunteer, then served as a staff member before eventually taking over as director. She said the center served from 200 to 300 people annually.
Among toy libraries, the Logan Family Center was unique in that it didn’t just rent out toys but provided space for kids to play — and welcomed the noise, Hanson said.
“It’s kind of bittersweet. I feel like we have served the community for 25 years and done an awesome job, but at the same time I feel like there are things that are happening in the world that show there needs to be a new way, starting fresh to do something like we’re doing,” Hansen said. “I feel like we’re ending on a good note even though we went through the IRS thing. We helped the community in a lot of ways, and I don’t feel bad about that at all.”