Interesting Info About BAHS
Executive Director's Message
Looking to the Future
Bay Area Homeless Services has a unique Board of Directors. Now I’m sure that most nonprofits project that they have great Boards, and many do. However, what makes our Board of Directors unique is the fact that each prospective member was initially identified based on their individual talents and skillsets, and then approached to determine their level of commitment to the agency. This process insured that each new member brings a high level of technical proficiency as well as a high level of energy to our monthly Board meeting.
One of the many benefits of this process is the focus our Board has on developing an agency that is effective in the near term while planning for the orderly and systematic growth of our shelter, the campus, and the programs needed to serve our clients the community stakeholders. Two areas of concern have recently emerged which has warranted the Board’s immediate attention: shelter maintenance and adequate employee compensation.
Our campus on Wisconsin Street is comprised of three buildings. Two of these serve as a men’s residence and an administrative building. Each was built in 1930. Each of these old buildings are in need of renovation and repair in order to maintain their functional capabilities. The third building houses our women’s shelter clients, and while newer, suffers from constant use by more than 125 clients annually. The agency’s maintenance costs are increasing annually and the Board is actively working on a solution which will be both effective in the short term and fiscally responsible in the long term.
Employee compensation is a key component to attracting and retaining skilled employees, dedicated to serving our vulnerable clientele. The Board recognizes that the agency needs to address this important issue, and has set up an ad hoc committee to study current compensation trends and develop a strategy to hire and engage superior professional employees for the long term. This committee is currently developing comparative compensation data in the interest of adjusting our current employee’s pay, keeping them more in line with their other nonprofit counterparts.
The common thread with these two important issues is money. Since Hurricane Harvey our personal donations to the shelter have decreased. Perhaps this will reverse in late 2018 as the community returns to a sense of normalcy. Some of our significant funders have declared that their funding will be curtailed in the coming funding cycle. These issues put more emphasis on our Board to develop strategies to meet expenses and plan for sustained growth at the same time. The good news is that our Board has the people in place to tackle these problems.
Stay tuned for more information about our plan forward!
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A successful nonprofit organization cannot thrive without a concerned, dynamic Board of Directors. When the Board fails, the nonprofit follows suit and often fails as well. Historically, boards fail because of a lack of involvement. This lack of involvement usually takes two paths. In the first instance, a nonprofit reaches out to "name recognized" board candidates. Usually, these high profile candidates have no ties to either the community or the mission of the non-profit. Their commitment to the nonprofit is solely their name value. In the second instance boards allow themselves to stagnate and treat board meetings as "business as usual".
One staff member recently commented that she had worked with other nonprofits and knew what problems grew out of Board apathy and lack of direction, she added "I'm grateful to be working here because I know that the Board is fully involved".
Board members also contribute their time by participating in random unannounced shelter visitations and serving on various subcommittees designed to strengthen the agency's long-term growth potential. They participated in a planned retreat last year designed to sharpen focus on growing the agency to meet our ever-increasing community need. As the results from that retreat were so positive, another was scheduled for February of this year.
Bay Area Homeless Services is fortunate because it is led by an experienced Board of Directors who do not fall into either of the categories listed above. They are, instead, primarily motivated by the mission of the organization, to assist people to become self-sufficient in these tough times. And, they are committed to the point of being true contributors to the cause. Each board member has contributed financially to the agency since the beginning of 2013, supporting our record-breaking "Mane Event" fundraiser, and greatly contributing to the much-needed Building Hope capital campaign which has led to our new (and beautiful) Brritton-Fuller Center for intact homeless families.
BAHS is fortunate to have this current group of community leaders serve on its board, and guide its future growth.