In January 2021, I accepted the role of Executive Director at VISION. A job challenged by a global pandemic that had me deep-dive into budgets and spending as well as try to provide quality services in a pretty much virtual realm. I came into the position with three primary goals:
1. Increase income through fundraising and grants.
Update: In 2021 we cut some administration costs through price comparisons, cancellations of unused services, and utilizing nonprofit discounted/free services. We applied and qualified for PPP loan assistance from COVID relief funds. We also held several fundraisers including Schuylkill Gives, VISION of Beauty art raffle, Spooky Schuylkill 5k, and Wreaths Across America. We were awarded a mini-grant from Get Outdoors PA to create loanable backpacks available at participating libraries and the VISION office and recently received award notices of two additional mini-grants to address walking and worksite wellness (for nonprofit leaders). Keep an eye on our Events page for the latest and greatest.
2. Increase awareness of VISION and its mission through emails, social media, speaking engagements, and networking.
Update: During a time when in-person interactions were limited we worked hard to promote VISION and our projects through this e-newsletter, social media posts (most active on Facebook and Instagram but also have Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and YouTube!), and our GooseChase Scavenger Hunt. I kicked the year off with a Self Care webinar through Downtown Shenandoah Incorporated and also presented on walking partnerships for the Pennsylvania Nutrition Educator Network's Annual Virtual Meeting and PA WalkWorks affiliate member monthly meeting. VISION is also a member of Schuylkill County Chamber of Commerce, Greater Schuylkill Haven Area Business Association, Explore Schuylkill, Get Outdoors PA, PA WalkWorks Affiliate, and PA Recreation and Parks Society.
3. Align VISION programs and projects with vision and mission to better operate and seek funds for identified projects and programs.
Update: VISION's mission is to mobilize community resources to create a better Schuylkill County. This is to be accomplished through building effective collaborations, coordinating community assets, finding resources to support the work of the collaboration, and communicating progress to the community. The best way I can put it is we may not be the community resource but we will work to connect communities and partners with the proper resources and agencies. What will that look like? Example 1: If a community wants to create a community garden. VISION will not build or own the garden but will assist in connecting the community with their local officials, funding opportunities, and resources to assist the community in creating a garden. Example 2: Nonprofits are interested in trainings about board member recruitment. VISION staff will not present on the topic but will assist in securing an expert presenter, training location, and training logistics.
VISION's key programs and projects include Healthy Schuylkill Communities, Youth Summit, Distracted Driving Campaign, and Schuylkill on the Move. Coming in 2022 we will be launching our newest project; Schuylkill County Technical Assistance Center for nonprofits!
If you would like to learn more about VISION visit our website at www.schuylkillvision.com. Interested in learning about my professional experience and background? Please visit my LinkedIn page for details.
Have questions or comments for me? The best way to reach me is at firstname.lastname@example.org
2021 was a year of transition and a lot of looking at VISION's operations, budget, projects, and overall mission. I look forward to my continued work to streamline processes, reduce expenses, increase partnerships, provide valuable resources, and build a better Schuylkill County.
Here's to 2022!
Mandy Fitzpatrick, Executive Director