Jack Tibbets of Santa Rosa’s St. Vincent de Paul has won one of North Bay Business Journal’s Nonprofit Leadership Awards.
Describe your organization
Our mission is to end systemic poverty and help lift people into sustainable, fulfilling lives. We run the dining room in downtown Santa Rosa, which serves over 60,000 hot meals every year. We also have job-training and job-placement programs, as well as rental assistance, utility-bill assistance and localized food pantry programs among our 15 conferences throughout Sonoma and Lake counties.
Tell us a little bit about yourself
I try to always be a good guy and go the extra mile no matter how tired I am. I always try to squeeze the most out of every single day, and to get the job done that day. I operate on the belief that our own success is directly tied to helping others achieve their own success. As a result, if we want to achieve success ourselves, we’d better make sure we spend our time helping everyone else achieve their own success. To me, true success is always a shared experience.
What is your role in the organization?
I am the executive director for SVdP. That entails everything from plumber, case manager, preliminary legal counsel, and staff chef during Staff Steak Days.
What achievement are you most proud of?
Increasing sales by 13 percent this year through the implementation of significant changes to our operation, in addition to increasing the number of donations that have come through to support our community dining room. This couldn’t have happened without the leadership of our director of operations, Lonnie Rivas, and his staff.
What is your biggest challenge today?
Our problem is a good problem. Like most nonprofits, we are cost centers that provide a free service, and we use donations to backfill our deficit to balance our budgets. Given SVdP’s background in sales, our real property assets, and our board’s strong background in business, we are beginning to roll out a plan that harnesses all of these strengths.
Once fully implemented, we anticipate that we will have a balanced budget from our business enterprises alone, which will allow us to focus all of our donor dollars into greatly expanding services to low-income communities in Sonoma and Lake counties.
What is the next major project either under way or on the horizon?
My hope for the organization is to expand into housing. I see it as critically important when addressing homelessness. Once implemented, we will be able to provide a fully integrative program that begins with food provision. That is, drawing someone into our sphere of services via our community dining room, place them into one of our housing units, then provide them with a job and job training.
We also hope to base our housing model on buying up and inheriting market-rate housing through estate-planning, then converting them back into affordable housing for needy families.
What product or service is helping you do your job more effectively?: QuickBooks and Gmail.
How do you think your profession will change in the next five years?
My belief is that nonprofits like ours will have to develop and adapt to housing-focused strategies. Looking back at our organization’s history, we have spent millions of dollars feeding people – a much-needed service that has brought about a lot of good – but that particular service has done little to actually end someone’s homelessness.
Society of St. Vincent de Paul
5671 Redwood Drive, Rohnert Park 94928
Residence: Santa Rosa
Professional background: Born and raised in Sonoma County, attended Saint Eugene’s and Montgomery; later attended University of California, Berkley. Shortly after college, worked for Ben Stone at the Sonoma County Economic Development Board, then did a stint in the green-energy sector as a director of government and community relations before becoming the executive director of Saint Vincent de Paul. I’ve served on a number of boards and commissions, including PDI Surgery Center, Community Action Partnership, the Sonoma County Public Library Foundation, and Santa Rosa Board of Public Utilities. I currently serve on the board of PDI Surgery Center, and the Santa Rosa City Council.
Education: Saint Eugene’s and Montgomery