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Hull House Foundation Expands Board by Gary N. Costello

posted Apr 23, 2012, 11:30 AM by Pamela Davison

The Patriot, Volume 4, Issue 3  – September 2010

As reported in the January 2010 issue of the Patriot, the Hull House Foundation has been working closely with the Fund for the Arts, Capacity Building Initiative – an initiative launched in an effort to help smaller, less well established not for profit organization grow and improve.  As a result, the Foundation has been working diligently with our consultants for many weeks. That work has focused on evaluating the current status of the Foundation, our strengths and weaknesses, our progress to date, and assessing and delineating our impending needs as we strive to advance our efforts to build a strong and viable entity that will endure for many years to come.  What has emerged is the identification of three major objectives upon which to focus.  First, enhancement of the Board of Trustees was seen as paramount.  Second, a sound strategic plan to guide the project over the next five years was clearly needed.  And third, the development of a sustainable model for the on-going operation of the project.

Tackled first was the issue of Board expansion.  A goal was set to double the size of the Board of Trustees from five members to ten by the end of the year and to add strength in several key areas.   Over a dozen prime candidates were considered.  Ultimately, an invitation to join the Board was extended to nine candidates.  All nine responded favorably to the solicitation and five were presently in a position to be able to accept the post.  We heartily welcome each new member and are happy to announce their appointment to the Board as of July of this year. 
We welcome Mark Martin, Vice President of Business Banking for M&T Bank.  Mr. Martin has been a staunch supporter of the efforts to restore the Hull House for more than five years. He brings a strong corporate connection to the Board, along with his personal commitment to the project.
Suzanne Jacobs, retired educator and Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum for the Lancaster Schools has stepped on to the Board after serving as  Director of Education for the Hull House Development Team for the past four years.  A strong educational component on the Board is essential, given that the mission of the Hull House Foundation and the Hull Family Home & Farmstead is an educational one.  Suzanne brings that expertise.                                                
We also welcome Pamela Davison, Assistant to the Chair, Department of Physiology & Biophysics, University of Buffalo, School of Medicine.  Ms. Davison will add strength in both the areas of information management and finance.  She has shown a deep commitment to the project, having served on six of ten committees of the Hull House Development Team over the past six years. 
Diane O'Connor comes to us from a background of more than 15 years in development, fund raising, consulting, marketing, and communications and presently heads The Art of Collaboration, working with two local not for profit organizations.  She relished the opportunity to work with the Foundation, as history is one of her favored arenas.
 Our fifth appointee, Dennis Hirschfelt, Senior Micro Computer Technology Specialist for Erie 1 BOCES, brings a wealth of knowledge and experience that will be most valuable as we strive to corporate and utilize the latest in computer technology to improve both our educational function and communication needs. 
The first task facing the newly expanded Board will be to tackle the second of the three needs identified through the efforts of the Capacity Building Initiative—that being the development of a strategic plan to carry the project forward.  The new Board is poised and ready to meet that challenge.