Kiwanis Family House

Director’s Column – November 2015

In 2009, during my tenure as Chief Operating Officer for the Coalition for Independence, a Kansas City nonprofit that served persons with disabilities, we invited a prestigious international accreditation organization to come onsite and assess how we measured up against its comprehensive set of excellence standards.  Following a week-long visit by its team of assessors, the Commission on the Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) awarded us its maximum three-year accreditation.  We were proud, not only for what the honor said about us as a service provider but for what it conveyed to potential donors and funders.

In my three-and-a-half years at the helm of Kiwanis Family House, I have reflected on what a similar accomplishment could mean for our enterprise.  All of our current revenue streams seem increasingly challenged and we work hard every day to stay on our budgetary targets.  Could a prestigious accreditation, earned for a demonstrated commitment to standards of excellence, make a difference in our marketing and fund development work?

Through the dedicated efforts of members of various committees, our Board of Directors and management staff are continuing our team’s march toward increased professionalism.  In the past year, we developed and approved an exhaustive risk management plan which serves as an umbrella for what will soon be a full library of new and revised governing documents:  bylaws; Board policies; Board and management succession plan; emergency action plan; fund development plan, including legacy giving; marketing plan; information technology plan; volunteer management plan; internal accounting controls; employee handbook; position descriptions, operational procedures, and performance management tools; and ultimately a new strategic plan that will provide Kiwanis Family House with a roadmap for the next three to five years.

I don’t know whether the Board will be interested in pursuing any form of accreditation once all of these governance anchors are in place, and I am not necessarily advocating that we do.  After all, there would likely be a financial investment involved in asking an accrediting team to put us through its rigorous process.  However, I pledge to you – our stakeholders – my commitment to demonstrating that Kiwanis Family House operates in accordance with universally-recognized standards of excellence whether or not we earn the privilege of displaying the endorsement of a highly-regarded accrediting body.


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