Monday, August 30, 2010

Summer Reading: Jumping Hurdles

The History of the Schoenbaum Human Service Center of Sarasota

In my hunt for books that tell nonprofit stories, I found this booklet. Dr. Kay Glasser, who died early this year, tells about her magnificent obsession to create a human service center. At the Center she created, nonprofits receive “free rent” and those in need receive multiple services.

The booklet’s biggest lesson is to remind nonprofit leaders of the importance of creating by-laws that serve your organization. The Center’s first by-laws called for a board of directors composed solely of representatives of the agencies housed in the Center. This resulted in two challenges. First, board members had the natural tendency to vote in their own agencies interests. Second, according to Dr. Glasser, she had to do the fundraising without board help because they were busy fundraising for their own organizations. Would the Center have been better served by creating a board of influential citizens with agency representatives serving an advisory role?

Dr. Glasser also shares the many other hurdles she overcame in the eight years or so it took to move from concept to grand opening and serving 15+ agencies. Here you can read stories of trying and trying again and finding people willing to help, especially in banks and in city government. Besides the by-laws lesson, the nonprofit leader, in this short read, will be reminded about the value of perseverance, asking for help and asking for money . . .from people who have it.

No comments:

Post a Comment