Wildfires Threaten California Members
Currently a number of Citygate Network member ministries are under the threat of active fires ablaze in California. Citygate Network Director of Member Engagement Sam Edwards reached out to members near the affected areas. As a result, we have created a Wildfire Information Page where we will post updates as they become available. In today’s update, we have news from Union Rescue Mission in Los Angeles; Redwood Gospel Mission in Santa Rosa; and Ventura County Rescue Mission in Oxnard. Members report that wildfires are threatening ministry properties, causing evacuations, interrupting services, and stretching agency resources. Thankfully, no members have reported injuries or facility damage, and they have seen God work in amazing ways. Please continue to pray for everyone who is in harm’s way in California.
Citygate Network Influences New Category and Rankings for Charity Navigator
Back in August, we contacted Charity Navigator (CN), an organization that employs a system to assess the strength and integrity of nonprofit organizations in order to help donors make decisions regarding contributions. CN organizes charities into “cause areas” so comparisons can be made between similar nonprofits. Prompted by a call from Jim Palmer, CEO at Orange County Rescue Mission (Tustin, California), we collaborated on a letter to CN, asking for a separate initial rating in light of the fact that missions do more than just shelter and feed, but also offer education, job readiness, housing procurement, and more. CN heard us and just this week notified us that they studied the data and crafted a rating table solely for missions. Instead of a +1 program growth adjustment, each rescue mission will receive a +2 program growth adjustment. We believe this will make rescue mission ratings more equitable and help attract more donors.
Annual Snapshot Survey Now Available for Comparisons
For several reasons, our 2019 Snapshot Survey, a point-in-time count done earlier this year, did not get the circulation it should have had. If you are now interested in reviewing it, click here. The report surveys member missions and ministries on one particular day and collects demographic information on age, race, education level, prior homelessness, family size, and much more. Members who participate can then evaluate their own stats (which we compile) with the combined stats from the rest of the membership (which we also compile) to see how they compare. Members who participate on a regular basis can do their own year-to-year comparisons. CEOs, billing contacts, or profile managers can log in on our website and click on My Organization Profile to see your 2019 results if you participated in the survey. Your results will be downloadable from the 2019 Snapshot Survey link in the Other Information section. We also produce an observation sheet that shows how things changed (or didn’t change) in our member missions and ministries across the board. Look for a link to that in the next issue of Street Smart.
Board and District Elections Open November 5
Coinciding with national and local elections on the first Tuesday in November, Citygate Network will hold its annual elections. All voting members—referring to Classic Membership, not Digital Membership—will receive an email invitation to vote for an at-large board member. Additionally, voting members in the Evergreen, Liberty, and Heartland Districts will vote for new district presidents, vice-presidents, and Regional Representatives for the board. Everyone will have a 10-day window to register their vote for the candidates the Nominating Committee has selected for these positions. Elections will close on November 14 at midnight. Terms begin January 1, 2020 and run through December 3, 2022.
NAE Appoints New President
The National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) Board of Directors announced the selection of Walter Kim as its new president, effective January 2020. Leith Anderson has served in the role since 2006. Additionally, John Jenkins, senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Glenarden, was elected to serve as NAE board chair; and Jo Anne Lyon, general superintendent of The Wesleyan Church, was voted in as vice chair. These individuals will be officially installed at the next meeting of the NAE Board in March 2020. Citygate Network President John Ashmen serves on the NAE Board.
Secretary Carson Continues to Push for a Revised Equal Access Rule
Recent attention reveals the continued controversy over shelter rights in admitting and placing non-traditional guests. In spite of criticism, Secretary Carson continues to promote that “transgender people should get the same rights as everyone else, but they don’t get to change things for everybody else.” He advocates that privacy, safety, practical concerns, and religious beliefs should be considered when determining placement of transgender guests. There still has been no final decision on the Equal Access proposed rule change the Secretary made in March.
We Need Your Input
Citygate Network has been asked to join a conversation with HUD, USICH, and the CDC on combating TB outbreaks in shelter environments. The government would like to partner with us to provide resources and guidance on effectively responding to these outbreaks. In preparation for that conversation, we need your input on any TB-related issues you have experienced in your mission. Please send your feedback and insight to Alice, with the subject line “TB experience.”
Complete the Compensation Survey to Access the Report for Free
Every two years we conduct a survey to gather data about each member ministry's employee compensation and benefits. The data is analyzed and cross-tabbed to produce an approximately 30-page comprehensive report covering all common positions for rescue missions and kindred ministries, broken down by budget size and location. The veracity of the report is greatly improved when we get at least a third of our members to report their confidential data. We’re close, but we still need a few more of you to jump in this year and complete the survey to keep the reliability factor as high as possible. Rest assured that figures reported cannot be traced to the contributing organization. We need the information as soon as possible, but the survey will close on Friday, November 8. Once again, Citygate Network will make the report available at no charge (a $119 value) to those members that complete the survey. Here is the link to the survey.
Coming Soon! Early-Bird Registration for 2020 Conference
Plan to gather with us in San Antonio May 27–30, 2020, for next year’s Annual Conference and Exposition. There will be some early education opportunities and experiences, as well as a district event to wrap things up. The best rates will be available online from November 15–December 18, 2019. Stay tuned!
Looking Down the Street...
- Washington, D.C. recently hosted a World Series game for the first time in 86 years! Central Union Mission (Washington, District of Columbia) board vice-chair DC Washington (that’s really his name!), made headlines when he sang the national anthem for game three of the World Series between the Houston Astros and the Washington Nationals. In the ensuing media frenzy surrounding his performance, DC consistently drew attention to Central Union Mission to help tell his story.
- Miracle Hill Ministries (Greenville, South Carolina) has announced their selection of Ryan Duerk to succeed President/CEO Reid Lehman, who served the ministry for some 42 years, including 32 years at its helm. Ryan has served with the mission in various capacities for more than 10 years and looks forward to serving God while utilizing his gifting to improve stewardship and maintain the mission.
- In October, Omaha held their 4th annual Legacy Gala to honor local Women on a Mission for Change (WMC). This year, Candace Gregory, CEO of Open Door Mission (Omaha, Nebraska), was honored for her contributions and service to the community. This recognition brings awareness to the mission’s programs and encourages connection and partnership with other community programs.
- Joe Colaizzi came to Shelter KC, formerly Kansas City Rescue Mission (Kansas City, Missouri), as a volunteer in 1983 when he moved there to pursue a Master of Divinity degree. He became the executive director in 1985, and during the ensuing 35 years, Shelter KC has grown from one employee to 60 and expanded their services from an emergency shelter for men to encompass shelter and programs for men, women, and children. On November 9th the mission will honor Colaizzi with the Rescuer Award. Other exciting news about Shelter KC will be forthcoming.
- For those interested in how things turned out with Brandan Thomas’ motorcycle Rescue Ride across the country to raise awareness about homelessness, Winchester Rescue Mission (Winchester, Virginia), this article summarizes the whole adventure now that the dust has settled.
Tool Kit Will Facilitate Building Affordable Urban Housing
FastCompany.com reviewed a new tool kit, created by modular housing company Plant Prefab and an architectural firm. Designed to give cities and nonprofit developers a faster, cheaper way to build housing, their first customer is a nonprofit in Santa Monica, with a wait list of more than 8,000 needing affordable housing. The kit offers designs that can be constructed on a variety of unused urban lots where workers will build out foundations and utilities on site. Plant Prefab buildings will be constructed in a factory to save time and money, allowing for building completion in about half the time as traditional construction. The scalable designs use a template that can be adapted and used in many areas.
Companies Pledge to Hire the Formerly Incarcerated
A recent SmartBrief article stated that more than 2,300 companies have signed the Society for Human Resource Management’s (SHRM) pledge to employ ex-offenders. The strongest predictor in recidivism is joblessness. Traditional policies prohibiting the hiring of anyone with a criminal record no longer carry the same weight. The association has introduced the Getting Talent Back to Work program and developed a tool kit for employers. The EEOC specifies that employers should individually assess an applicant’s convictions for severity, pertinence, and recency before making a decision to exclude them from the pool of candidates.
Consider: How can this movement equip you in helping your clients pursue more employment opportunities?
Sanders Introduces Plan to Legalize Marijuana if Elected
Presidential primary candidate Bernie Sanders publicized an extensive plan to legalize marijuana by executive order if he wins the presidential election in 2020. A Fox News article describes his argument that criminalizing the drug has destroyed communities of color and negatively impacted the incarceration rate. All the Democratic presidential candidates support some form of legalization or decriminalization of the drug. According to a Gallup poll, 66 percent of Americans are in favor of legalizing marijuana, which is up from 35 percent in 2005.
Consider: Has your CoC had discussions about legalized recreational marijuana and how it might affect your city’s homeless population? Why not initiate one and call on a Citygate Network member CEO from a city where pot has become legal and readily available to bring actual insights.
Employee Retention Challenges
Small Business Trends ran an article breaking down the challenges of employee retention. One of the most common reasons (16 percent) employees give for leaving their job is dissatisfaction with their salary. With the cost of living rising by 14 percent since 2015, salaries obviously play a big role in job satisfaction. Almost 12 percent of employees are dissatisfied with the lack of growth or advancement opportunities, followed by 11 percent blaming a negative or toxic work environment, and 7 percent referring to a poor work/life balance. On the other side, almost half of all employers, (48 percent) believe that a raise or bonus would influence employees to stay. Another 25 percent think a better benefits package would have the same effect, followed closely by 22 percent who point to a healthier work/life balance as a determining factor.
Consider: In what ways can you positively influence your employees’ job satisfaction?
Study Reveals Disconnect Between Donors and Nonprofits
MediaPost published the surprising findings of a Campaign Monitor survey of 1,000+ donors and 300+ nonprofits. Results diverge from most nonprofit assumptions. For example, almost three-quarters of charities assume their donors prefer to hear from them via Facebook, but results indicate that 42 percent of donors prefer email contact, versus 40 percent who prefer Facebook. The same study showed that 49 percent of nonprofits think events are a preferred avenue for donors, but only 4 percent of donors agree. Similarly, 58 percent of nonprofits believe donors discover them through events, but actually only 18 percent do. And while 47 percent of organizations believe their biggest ROI comes from events, only 4 percent of donors give to them again after attending an event.
Consider: Have you asked your donors how they prefer to be contacted?
Christianity Declining at a Rapid Pace in the U.S.
The religious landscape of the United States continues to change rapidly. Pew Research Center published an article reviewing outcomes of a recent random-digit-dial political polling showing a 12 percent drop in American adults who describe themselves as Christians (65 percent versus 77 percent in the last decade). Those who consider themselves religiously unaffiliated (atheist, agnostic, or nothing in particular) has risen 9 percent since 2009. This trend shows up across all demographic groups: whites, blacks, Hispanics; men, women; all regions of the country; and among all levels of education. Religiously unaffiliated numbers have especially increased among young adults.