I strive to pen a column each month that is focused on a single impactful message or story. However, many noteworthy story lines are swirling as I sit to compose this month’s message. Coincidentally, I celebrate my fifth anniversary as Executive Director of Kiwanis Family House, a milestone that has me in a broadly reflective place anyway. So, without apology, I offer this medley for your consuming pleasure.
- Baton Rouge: For the past two years, we have communicated with some friends in the Louisiana-Mississippi-West Tennessee District of Kiwanis International (and you thought California-Nevada-Hawaii was a mouthful!) about their interest in building their version of Kiwanis Family House at a new children’s hospital in Baton Rouge. We recently learned that they have made sufficient progress to request a copy of our bylaws to use as a reference. For 33 years, ours has been the only Kiwanis Family House in the world and it is exciting to think that our great program will soon have a companion elsewhere in the Kiwanis world.
- In Cal-Nev-Ha: It is premature to suggest that any initiative to replicate Kiwanis Family House within our own District is gaining traction. However, I believe we have planted seeds through recent conversations that could potentially identify hospitals in our three states that have a need or demand for family lodging support.
- Our Reach: We have 111 Kiwanis clubs in three states that are official sponsors of KFH. As we have always done, we will continue to push that count higher by traveling and speaking throughout our organization, particularly in under-represented regions. After all, the families we have served live in all 50 of the United States and in 33 foreign countries and territories.
- Strategic Plan: The Board of Directors will soon adopt a new Strategic Plan to guide Kiwanis Family House forward by articulating specific goals and the action steps needed to accomplish them. Goal areas will include strengthening KFH fiscal sustainability, attracting and retaining high-performing staff, ensuring long-term hospital partnerships, guaranteeing a safe, comfortable, and efficient facility for the families we serve, increasing and diversifying revenue, strengthening relationships with Kiwanis clubs, broadening messaging beyond Kiwanis, and ensuring strong Board leadership.
- Operating Agreement with University Regents: Our current operating agreement with the University of California is set to expire in 17 years (2034). We have asked the Regents to grant a 30-year extension in order to ensure our future. Medical Center leadership has advised that we can anticipate a formal response to our inquiry this summer when it completes its year-long campus master planning project.
- Circle K District Support: Three years ago, the California-Nevada-Hawaii District of Circle K adopted Kiwanis Family House as a district-wide fundraising initiative. Clubs at colleges and universities across the three states continued their supportive efforts over the past twelve months. The District recently announced that its 2016/17 campaign raised $21,000 for KFH! Here is another example of how our Service Leadership Programs often set the example.
- Facility Facelift: With wonderful support from our board of directors, we continue to keep the facility fresh, clean, and safe. New carpeting in the guest rooms, adjacent corridors, and our conference room will be installed within the next couple of months.
This list is but a sample of the broad range of activities we experience in leading and managing Kiwanis Family House. Elsewhere in this issue, you will read about the upcoming 2017 Big Day of Giving on May 4. Please rally in our support during that 24-hour period of giving. We have a goal of raising $75,000 this year, a total we will bust our tails to achieve. We will do so for the families who depend on our open doors and comforting service.