Business people of all walks, especially those who strive to be leaders in their fields, hold the power to make a tremendous social difference by tackling issues faced by their communities. Joining with a nonprofit which matches social values and passions, professionals truly have the power to change the world.
I know this to be true because I have witnessed it over the last 12 years as CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) of McHenry County's volunteer board members laid the foundation and guided the growth and success of our organization.
Thanks to the efforts of dedicated board, staff and volunteers, CASA is now serving 100 percent of the abused and neglected children in McHenry County who need an independent and objective advocate as they wind their way through foster homes, juvenile court, state agencies and more.
At our founding In 2005, CASA McHenry County started with just 26 volunteer child advocates and provided services for only 10 percent of the children in need. With the vision of dedicated board members and through the help of compassionate residents, we reached a turning point in 2012 when we set an eight-year goal to serve every child in need of a CASA.
Simultaneously, CASA gained a valuable board member, Terri Greeno, owner of Express Employment Professionals with offices in Crystal Lake and West Dundee. Terri applied her extensive experience in growing a successful business and her desire to give back to our society's most vulnerable population: youth in crisis.
She helped CASA strategically think about growth and its effect on the team, as well as how to plan financially for maintaining future growth. Terri identified CASA's missing pieces needed to reach our goals and in partnership with other board members, helped to complete our plan and gave staff the confidence needed to succeed.
Terri brought her skills and passion as a business professional and put her promises into action. Solidifying her commitment to the mission, Terri and Express Employment Professionals have also given generously financially, knowing it takes more than time to grow a successful organization. She is one of our most devoted supporters, sharing CASA's work with countless others who have in turn given their time, talents and treasures. Her work has helped CASA continue to succeed to this day.
The greatest proof of Terri's devotion to CASA?
As of 2015 -- a full five years ahead of schedule -- CASA has the volunteers and resources to serve every abused and neglected child in McHenry County.
What can other local business leaders take-away from Terri's story?
• Professional knowledge is valuable to nonprofits. Business leaders' willingness to get involved locally can and will transform a community. Nonprofits need:
• Champions -- Leaders willing to share with their circles of influence the good work happening in their nonprofit.
• Inviters -- Appeal to peers to put their skills to work alongside yours; help them to see how they can make an impact.
• Investors -- Make your own meaningful gift and ask others to do the same. While time is a valuable commodity, money keeps the lights on and the program running.
• Kelly Pokharel is the founding executive director of CASA of McHenry County, casamchenrycounty.org/