Care and Share Food Bank for Southern Colorado is a nonprofit that distributes 11 million pounds of food annually to more than 400 agencies in 31 counties. Numerous organizations and thousands of people depend on it.
The organization found itself in troubled waters last year, firing its executive director, who had been in place for little more than a year. Food distribution did not suffer, but there was no one leading the charge.
After a nearly two-month search for a replacement, the organization’s board of directors announced this week that Lynne Telford would be the new CEO.
Telford was most previously the chief operating officer for the Pikes Peak United Way and before that was executive director of The Center for Nonprofit Excellence.
There appear to have been some leadership stability issues at Care and Share. How do you think you will approach this challenge?
The staff, board and volunteers at Care and Share are very committed and capable. They have continued the important work of the organization during this leadership transition. I plan to rely on their knowledge and experience as I learn about food banking. I will begin by focusing on two areas: community outreach and working with the staff. As the staff and I get to know each other and build trust, the sense of stability will be strong. We are off to a great start. When Rich Wood, the board chair, introduced me to the staff this week, they gave me a very warm welcome. Since then, the phone calls, e-mails and meetings with staff have been great.
How will your experience as executive director of the Center for Nonprofit Excellence aid you in your new role?
At the Center for Nonprofit Excellence I had the opportunity to interact with many nonprofit leaders and their organizations. These connections are going to help Care and Share with existing and new collaborations.
I am very proud of the Standards for Excellence program that I helped bring to Colorado Springs. This is a program of best practices for nonprofit organizations. My familiarity with the standards gives me a solid basis for working within the nonprofit community.
My entire career, volunteering and leadership training will aid me in my new job. I spent two decades in the business world, including working with the great people at Atmel. Most of my nonprofit career was at Pikes Peak United Way where I learned from great leaders like Jerry Smith and J.D. Dallager. Volunteering on boards like Pikes Peak Library District and Leadership Pikes Peak gave me a different perspective on the nonprofit community. I also benefit from being a graduate from Leadership Pikes Peak and the Colorado Springs Leadership Institute.
What is the most critical issue facing Care and Share?
Care and Share is an organization that is critical to the well-being of our community. All nonprofits have seen an increase in the demand for services and a decrease in resources. Our citizens are generous, but when they are unemployed or underemployed they cannot be as giving.
At Pikes Peak United Way we have faced these challenges by re-inventing our fundraising practices and with rigorous expense control. The staff and board at Care and Share have done a good job with the fundraising and cost control efforts. I plan to spend a lot of effort in these areas and help position the organization to be robust and to serve the community in the most efficient way.