Spurred by efforts to build stronger ties with residents, the Austin Byrne Criminal Justice Initiative team revitalized large open spaces that had fostered crime, increased local resources to engage and support youth, and created an empathetic and effective way to address homelessness.
The two organizations had evolved from different premises, and had developed different cultures and methods to meet a common challenge of engaging citizens in civic volunteering. Each of these national initiatives was making a difference in promoting volunteerism and supporting citizen service. Both had become more concerned about financial sustainability and impact in recent months. For five years the two groups had been competing in some areas, and collaborating in others, and the idea of consolidation was present.
Habitat for Humanity International describes its mission: “to eliminate poverty housing and homelessness from the world, and to make decent shelter a matter of conscience and action.” Habitat invites people of all backgrounds, races and religions to build houses together in partnership with families in need.
In Austin, Texas, LifeWorks is an $8 million, multifaceted human services organization providing support as youth and families “transition from crisis to safety and success”1. This dynamic, well-respected product of a merger provides an array of services for homeless, runaway and foster youth; counseling to individuals and families; and prevention programs for at-risk school-age youth. It is a strong advocacy voice for the needs of at-risk children and families, and enjoys a leadership role in the human service community.
The case study was made possible by a grant from the Volunteer Impact Fund.
The Volunteer Vancouver board moved quickly through obligatory introductions, modestly amending and approving the minutes of its last monthly meeting before turning its attention to the evening’s key guest, Kerry Ho, the CEO of Inhance, an ethical investment firm. With Volunteer Vancouver’s current asset balance exceeding $436,000, the board was eager to explore investment opportunities designed to meet its criteria of “reasonable liquidity, professional management …capital preservation over 20 years, [that] meet[s] the obligations of the City lease agreement and balance[s] the operational needs of the organization” (Volunteer Vancouver, 2007a).