‘Tis the Season

Nov 28 2012

By Laura Wolf

‘Tis the season to be thankful for people… and to give them the gift of letting them know.  I’m thankful for the CASA Board of Directors.

The Board of any community-based nonprofit is an unsung group of volunteers who do the behind-the-scenes, unglamorous work of keeping a charitable organization focused on its purpose, prudently managing its resources, in compliance with the law, and operating according to budget and policies. At CASA, our Board of Directors are among some of the most creative, talented and conscientious people in Austin.

A non-profit organization is required by law to have a board of directors who carry out certain fiduciary duties established in the law. However, there’s nothing that requires a board to be passionate, visionary, generous, or kind. Those are some of the qualities that come to mind when I think about the CASA Board. Each one of them is committed to our mission and enthusiastic about our vision of a trained CASA volunteer for every child in Austin who needs one. They are completely supportive of the staff and the volunteer advocates at CASA. They believe in acting for the greatest possible good and living up to the highest possible standards. They are also incredibly busy people who work demanding jobs, care for their families and serve our community in other ways besides CASA.

Right now, the Board is looking forward to the new year and to building on the achievements of this year, always with these considerations at the top of their minds:

  • What is best for the children we serve?
  • How do we provide our very best to those children, and grow to reach the children we are not yet serving?
  • What is best for our CASA volunteer advocates?
  • What is best for the CASA staff?
  • How can we fulfill our mission in a way that meets the needs and expectations of our community?
  • Are we growing and managing our financial resources in a way that will both enhance and sustain our advocacy work?
  • Are we, every day and in every way, working with the utmost integrity and honor?

It is a privilege to work with people like this.

And work we do!  Among the unglamorous tasks the CASA Board has accomplished this past year are:  revised personnel policies; overseen, reviewed, and accepted our annual financial audit and IRS Form 990; analyzed monthly financial reports; and diligently assessed our lease terms and obligations as we’ve expanded our space.

More excitingly, they have also led us to: receiving the 2012 Inclusion Award from National CASA; beginning a multi-year fundraising campaign to achieve our vision; partnering with CASA of Williamson County on the most successful Superhero Run to date; collaborating with Austin Stone Community Church to recruit 200 new CASA volunteers; and challenging our community to match an extraordinary gift of $600,000 from an anonymous family foundation.

All of these accomplishments are in service to the Board’s clear vision for CASA: to provide for every child in Austin who needs us, a trained CASA volunteer, a safe home and a promising future.

Most importantly, the CASA Board has pushed themselves and all of us to do better --- to recruit more volunteers, to serve more children, to meet more of the needs that abused and neglected children face in our community. That’s why during this season, and every day, I’m thankful for the CASA Board of Directors.