Leadership Perspective: A Note from President & CEO Chuck Gehring
LifeCare Alliance’s Founder, Catherine Nelson Black, noted in the original meeting minutes in 1898, that she founded our Agency “to take care of those nobody else pays any attention to.” I think about her goal and her wish daily. This is the ultimate goal - a goal an Agency such as LifeCare Alliance may never be able to improve upon, even 115 years later. And when you combine this statement with our modern marketing tagline, that we are “Nourishing the Human Spirit”, well, we’ve said it all.
I am extremely proud that last year LifeCare Alliance was again able to accept all clients in need who qualified.
This may not seem like a big deal, as this is what not-for-profit organizations are supposed to do—accept those in need and help them. Unfortunately, our acceptance of all those in need has become the exception, not the rule, in our country. In fact, what we do is truly exceptional. We are one of the very few organizations in the nation still accepting clients without waiting lists.
Throughout the United States, agencies providing services like ours are struggling. Many have even discontinued their work. Knowing that the population of our clients will continue to dramatically increase over the next decade, how can we position LifeCare Alliance to take care of them? The answer is our Agency goal—to increase revenues from our fundraising and social entrepreneurship efforts to equal 50 percent of our total Agency revenues by the end of 2014. Given this number was close to zero in 2000, this is truly a lofty goal, but one we must achieve for our clients. We ended 2012 with revenues from these sources totaling 37.1% of our total revenues. Had this total been lower, we simply could not have serviced all of our clients, and we would have the massive waiting lists that exist in other metropolitan areas across the county.
But, not only does LifeCare Alliance continue to accept all those in need, we did more! Beginning in January, 2013, we began providing Meals-on-Wheels and Dining Center meals for Marion County. When the previous provider could no longer continue meal service financially, no other organizations or counties would take on this challenge . . . except for LifeCare Alliance. Not only did we accept the Marion County Meals-on-Wheels program, but we expanded it. By accepting new clients in need, the number of clients served has tripled in only six months. New clients have expressed their gratitude in many ways. They have also told us they cannot believe that we can help them when others could not. This is the “taking care of those nobody else pays any attention to”, just like Mrs. Black wanted 115 years ago.
In addition to Marion County Meals-on-Wheels, we also expanded our Homemaker Program. When another local not-for-profit organization was unable to continue their homemaker program, LifeCare Alliance again stepped up and accepted their clients. No clients lost homemaker service, a critical program for those with compromised immune systems due to age or illness.
When I started at LifeCare Alliance twelve years ago, there were six not-for-profit organizations providing homemaker services. With this latest consolidation, LifeCare Alliance is the only one left. Over the next few years, I expect additional programs to be discontinued due to financial pressures and funding decreases. With your continued assistance, LifeCare Alliance will be positioned to accept more programs and people in need. While this may sound negative for senior services, I am convinced senior service consolidation is positive, and needed.
The Agency mergers LifeCare Alliance has completed over the past several years have been positive, with many more clients served at significantly reduced cost. My hope is that more agencies and counties will join us now and not wait for financial problems to occur.
LifeCare Alliance operates nationally recognized models for our programs, volunteering, and the services we provide our clients. We are one of only a handful of major metropolitan areas in the county still taking clients in need without waiting lists. In 2013, this is truly our most amazing and most important statistic. The services you will read about in this report are exceptional and truly not the norm in other areas.
Your support of LifeCare Alliance is truly an investment in our community. AARP calculates the LifeCare Alliance saved Ohio taxpayers more than $62,000 per year for each senior or medically challenged person we assist in remaining independent and in their own home, which is where they want to be! This clearly makes LifeCare Alliance the best value for your dollar.
All of this is accomplished EVERY DAY through the efforts of our dedicated volunteers, staff and management team, board members, supporters, and especially YOU. However, we need your support now more than ever. I hope you will consider a special gift this year – an extra gift – to assist us in meeting our challenges. In addition, you can help us in a number of ways:
- Volunteer and get involved. When you deliver Meals-on-Wheels or one of our other critical services, you save us the cost of performing this service. We simply could not deliver our services without you.
- Supply our food pantries. When you provide food or personal care items to our food pantries you reduce our costs and support a family or individual in critical need, often keeping them out of homeless shelters.
- Get your company involved. Currently, more than 90 companies deliver Meals-on-Wheels through our Adopt-A-Route program. There is no better way to increase employee morale at no cost to your company.
- Buy a catering. Our L.A. Catering company provides critical funding for clients we could not otherwise service. From graduation parties to wedding receptions to company events, we are your source for the best in catering.
- Have LifeCare Alliance provide your corporate wellness programs, flu shots, travel vaccines, and safety trainings.
- Donate your gently used clothes and household items to our three supporting thrift stores in Grove City, Worthington, and Reynoldsburg.
- Take a tour and learn about the work of The Columbus Cancer Clinic, Project OpenHand, IMPACT Safety, AniMeals Pet Care Program, Groceries-To-Go Food Pantry, Fan Campaign, and our many other incredible programs and services.
- Donate. We still need funds!
- Care. Serve. When you support LifeCare Alliance, you truly assist those most in need in our community.
Download the 2012 Annual Update here: files/mjones/PDFs/LifeCare_Alliance_AR12SM.pdf