3.29.2011

Update from the Boss! - New Staff at PNOLA


PNOLA Ready to Expand and "Jim Also" Joins the Team

I'd like to officially welcome the newest member(s) to the PNOLA team (yes, it's not official until it's been blogged about)! Jim MacQueen, a man of extensive construction experience, has joined our staff to take over day to day construction operations so that I can focus on fundraising to greatly expand our capacity to serve. Coming with him is his trusty friend, CoCo the Dog. She and Jim fit right in here at PNOLA and we feel very fortunate to have added so much skill and experience in one person (sorry, CoCo, you're not too good at construction). Jim has been working in the construction industry for 40 years and has spent the last nearly two years working for another non-profit rebuild organization so he is ready to hit the ground running. This is only the 3rd Management Level position we have ever hired outside of the original founders of the organization and currently the only other than me so I can personally say I'm very happy to have the help.

PNOLA has always been small but has grown significantly each year. You know this, because I talk about it all the time. We are on the cusp of a new push now and, along with our new hire Jim "Also", we have our sights set on big things. In a time when funding is drying up and other organizations are wrapping up their commitments, PNOLA sees a future for itself in the continuing needs of our neighborhood. We have talked about our expansion into 1st Time Homebuyers and Affordable Rental property development and we are now ready to do that on a larger scale, while continuing to provide our services to help existing homeowners get back into their own homes. We need your help, though. We need more AmeriCorps members which means we need more funding for AmeriCorps match. We are about to officially open up our recruiting process for our next round of AmeriCorps members. These members make up all of our non-Jim staff and we could not do what we do without them, obviously. We are going to be seeking sponsorships for our AmeriCorps members and if I have your phone number, I'll probably be calling you to talk about it so disable your caller ID ;) Keep in mind that while each member requires that we pay AmeriCorps an $8,000 match, on average that allows us to provide more than 8000 hours of supervised volunteer labor per member.

I'm very excited that we now have the executive staff capacity sufficient so that I can focus my energies on raising money and securing grant funding. As you all know, when PNOLA gets a dollar it has at least 10 fold impact on the people we help, so we will be able to do so much more with more funding. Our neighborhood still needs a lot of work and we are ready to get it done!

AmeriCorps in the News

On one negative note, as you probably know AmeriCorps has been in the news because the funding for it is on the chopping block. For now our AmeriCorps staff is safe, but it has definitely affected our support from the NCCC program. Without writing an editorial, trust me from experience that AmeriCorps NCCC is very important to this country and particularly the Gulf Coast. There is still a lot of work to do and organizations like PNOLA need the help. We get twice as much done when we have NCCC in town and we are anxiously awaiting our next team. The big issue is that there are so many more organizations applying for teams from NCCC than they have teams to give since they are ALREADY under-funded. Any funding cuts will only make that worse and a lot of people and communities in need will be left without access to the help they need. For the time being, PNOLA is very much in need of volunteers, so if you want to schedule a trip, please go here.

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