It has been an exciting four months as YCAP Executive Director. The whirlwind has included getting to know the marvelous staff, volunteers and donors, touring our facilities, learning the more intricate details of the over sixty federal and state grants we rely on, and meeting with other social service agencies, businesses and service clubs to talk about YCAP and how we can work together. Throughout my first month I also had the invaluable guidance of retiring Executive Director Lee Means.
And I am not the only new fact to join YCAP in the past six months. We’ve had 16 new employees since March 2015. On the fiscal side, we have been working rapidly to close out our fiscal year, which ended June 30th, and prepare for our annual audit. Fortunately, the organization is in good fiscal health thanks to our hard-working program staff and generous public supporters.
Earlier this year the YCAP Board held their annual retreat to update the agency’s strategic plan. They established three goals: leading local solutions to homelessness and the lack of affordable housing, building our resources, and improving our communications and outreach. We are committed to these goals and are exploring innovative new projects to expand services and meet our clients’ needs.
At the root of the homelessness is the significant lack of affordable housing in Yamhill County. In support of our first goal, a core group of local social service partners and I have been meeting to discuss solutions. In late September four of us sat before the McMinnville City Council and City Manager to begin discussing action steps needed to make significant progress on this issue. YCAP will play a leading role.
In resource development and communications, we are planning a Newberg fundraising event for November. Our website will have more details soon. We are also working on several other website updates, and our vital holiday fund drive is just around the corner.
My wife Julia were drawn here nine years ago because of the strong and vibrant sense of community. What motivates us to support YCAP, and is so inspiring to me about being a part of the organization now, is its mission: to advocate for and assist persons toward self-sufficiency. It is simple, memorable, and calls for action. It encourages a “hand up,” rather than a “hand out.”
What have been among the most inspirational moments are those with our clients. I’ll never forget one day I visited the St. Barnabas Soup Kitchen. As I was walking back to my car a young woman asked if I worked there. I explained that I was with YCAP, and how we provide food for the kitchen. She shared that she had been clean for 107 days, and that the dining hall was a safe place she visited every week and where she had made new friends. She said, “If your work supports them, then I thank you.” That is why we do what we do.
Thank you for your support of YCAP. I look forward to collaborating with you to strengthen our organization, build our resources, lead a community effort to improve access to affordable housing and offer a brighter future to our neighbors in need. Don’t hesitate to share your ideas with me at email@example.com.
Executive Director, YCAP