Established in 1979 as a community-based program, Hospice Austin began providing services to terminally ill people and their families and caregivers during the summer of 1980. Hospice Austin provides end-of-life care that places compassion, dignity, independence and respect at the center of their mission. The organization has partnered with Greenlights since late 2003, and continues to be a client today.
The relationship between the board of directors and the Executive Director is complex, especially in hospice work. The competitive environment and changing landscape create a challenging dimension for effective nonprofit governance. In an industry that is crowded and constantly moving, Hospice Austin needed a way to delegate and define the responsibilities of the board so board members could be as productive as possible. The leadership wanted a more collaborative environment that appropriately shared authority between the staff and the board.
Over the past eight years, Greenlights has helped Hospice Austin nurture a healthy board and Executive Director relationship and has helped strengthen board effectiveness by conducting retreats, facilitating strategic planning, and implementing board-strengthening strategies. Most recently, Greenlights conducted a board retreat that communicated the current competitive environment and the nature of the organization’s position in the community, which empowered board members to work more effectively with the Executive Director. Greenlights clarified committee priorities and coached the Governance Committee and Executive Director through some concrete ways to better leverage the board’s work. Greenlights also implemented a board recruitment process for Hospice Austin that has been incorporated into their annual planning.
Executive Director Marjorie Mulanax sees a long-term relationship with Greenlights as important to bringing organizational maturity and enhanced systems to the organization. “Greenlights brings objectivity to a CEO,” said Marjorie. “[They have] been a phenomenal resource for me and helped me realize that I don’t have to have all of the answers.”
Greenlights has helped promote the healthy board and staff relationship within Hospice Austin that exists today and continues to foster that relationship through its programs and services. Using the board recruitment plan they developed with Greenlights in 2009, Hospice Austin recruited five new board members in 2010 and has two potential board members on a waiting list.
Hospice Austin continues to work with Greenlights, explains Mulanax, because “they have been so effective for us, our board knows them, and our board likes the consultants. The cost is a factor as well, and we have used more expensive consultants and I won’t say that the outcome is better. [Greenlights] has a proven track record. The people are genuinely nice as well as competent.”
Greenlights strengthens nonprofits for extraordinary performance and impact by providing valuable management consulting services, professional development workshops and conferences, in-depth research, a membership program and more. Nonprofits pay about half the cost of our services, thanks to the generosity of our donors.
For more information about our consulting services, contact Tara Kirkland, Director of Consulting, at (512) 477-5955, x262.
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