Doing the Right Thing in the Right Way: Bayside Community Center & Board Development

Updated: Aug 20


Ask any Linda Vista resident and they will tell you that Bayside Community Center is a special place. The 89-year-old neighborhood organization provides social services, educational opportunities, and engages community members in advocacy efforts. When you walk through the doors of Bayside, you might see a mother whose first language is Vietnamese receiving assistance to register her son for preschool, a Ballet Folklorico class in full swing, seniors eating a congregate meal or participating in Thai Chi, a meeting among members of the Resident Leadership Academy advocating for better lit streets, or volunteers washing produce from the garden to supplement food distribution packages. At the heart of Linda Vista, Bayside serves the whole person and the whole community.


Amidst the COVID-19 Pandemic, the organization was doing the right thing. They had “flexed” their programs to meet current needs. Bayside was conducting its social engagements by Zoom or by phone, offering home food delivery, and supporting micro gardens in the neighborhood. But were they doing things in the right way? What could they do to increase revenue streams and ensure the sustainability of their programs during this time of uncertainty? The organization’s staff knew they were not in it alone; they had an engaged board of directors. How could the board help to achieve Bayside’s strategic priorities? Bayside reached out to SVP for the support of a Spark Team.


Partner Joyce Ross, a retired organizational development consultant with expertise in board development and governance dove into Bayside’s Spark Team engagement alongside Robert Hill, a recently retired long-time management consultant who a had recently joined SVP. Joyce and Robert worked with Bayside’s Kevin Renac and Interim Executive Director Kim Heinle to assess the composition of the organization’s board, evaluate its operations, and form a Board Governance Committee. The goal of the engagement was to lay a blueprint for transitioning Bayside’s board from a working board to a fundraising board. According to a 2015 study by the Nonprofit Research Collaborative on board giving and engagement, 60% of organizations in which board members help with fundraising meet their fundraising goal.


After six monthly meetings, Bayside independently formed a Board Governance Committee and generated revised board operations processes and policies that would allow its board to support the organization’s strategic priorities, including revenue stream development. “The long-term impact of having a Board Governance Committee with functioning and effective documents in place is invaluable…SVP’s investment and appreciation for [capacity building] is so critical” shared Heinle. The engagement was equally satisfying for SVP’s Partners who remarked they enjoyed working with such a dedicated staff. When asked about his experience, Partner Robert Hill said what was most satisfying for him was learning from Joyce and the rigor of her process.


Thanks to the unparalleled expertise of SVP Partners like Joyce and Robert, Bayside Community Center is now able to empower board members to support its strategic priorities through the current moment of a global pandemic, and in the years ahead. The community of Linda Vista will be better for it!


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