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Housekeeping with Attention Homes: an Investee Update

Posted by olga

For fifty years, the mission of Attention Homes has been to, “Provide life-changing resources to youth in crisis.” Attention Homes offers shelter, structure and access to crucial services so that homeless and displaced youth can achieve their potential and become stable, independent members of our community.

Following leadership changes and lots of growth in the demand for their runaway and homeless youth programming, in 2013 they recognized a need to pause, take stock, identify priorities and, reinvigorated, move forward with a new plan.

Recognizing they were in the mature/renewal phase of a nonprofit life cycle, they brought on The Cultivation Center and Emily Davis Consulting to help identify goals to put ‘success’ within reach. For the next half-decade, their focus would be: (1) financial sustainability, (2) program design, (3) organizational development/culture and (4) board governance. The board was hopeful that SVP might help move the dial on several of these efforts. Following their successful application and selection as an SVP Catapult Investee, the work together began.

Of the four strategic plan priorities, board governance and organizational development were selected as areas of focus for the SVP/AH relationship. Identifying a work-able dynamic among SVP’s two co-Lead Partners Ed Victor and Les Wall, the Attention Homes Board President and the Executive Director took time. “Year one was truly a time of getting to know one another and understanding how best to work together,” reflects Executive Director Claire Clurman.

And, work to extend the interconnection between SVP and the rest of the organization continues. Now coming up on year two of the engagement, a wider variety of SVP Partners have lent a hand, including:

  • Rebecca Alderfer leading a risk management analysis, which resulted in recommendations for a revised board and committee structure;
  • Brian Hawkins working on financial reporting and informing financial policies and procedures; and
  • Kay Paine leading a recent staff retreat, as well as efforts around organizational structure, culture and human resource deployment.

Partners will continue to deepen those efforts alongside Attention Homes board and staff in the year ahead. “The work together has been impactful. SVP has provided a very rich network of expertise and community integration that I think will benefit Attention Homes for years to come,” notes Claire. She continues, “Being an SVP Investee isn’t for the light-hearted – it’s certainly a commitment. The rewards are paid back so richly, I can’t imagine not having a relationship like this at this point. It’s been very fruitful.”

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