St. Stephen’s Community House Board of Directors Activity Report 2018-2019
The St. Stephen’s Community House Board of Directors is pleased to report on its activities for 2018-2019. The role of the Board is to provide oversight and strategic direction to support the work of St Stephen’s in fulfilling its mission and operations. The Board works closely with the senior management team to ensure that the organization has the policies and structure in place to effectively deliver the services that meet the needs of our communities.
In 2018-2019, the Board continued to monitor the implementation of the Strategic Plan 2017-2021 and exercised due diligence in the areas of financial operations, risk management and legal compliance. The Board also promoted various initiatives to enhance organizational strengths and support innovative programming. Some of the highlights of our work include:
Supporting the application for and opening of the Overdose Prevention Site in April 2018 to address the deepening opioid-related overdose crisis in Toronto;
Advancing decent work initiatives to increase our organizational capacity;
Promoting the culture of innovation within the organization; and
Supporting fundraising efforts
The Board activities were carried out through its monthly meetings, as well as its six standing committees (Governance, Finance, Human Resources, Quality, Fundraising, and Advocacy) and two taskforce groups (Integration and Innovation) which are mandated to achieve specific short-to-medium term goals. Their deliverables are summarized below.
The Governance Committee helps the Board of Directors carry out its due diligence functions and coordinate the activities of standing committees, task forces and working groups. In 2018-2019, the Committee organized two board retreats, on topics such as government relations building and a review of our Strategic Plan. The committee also provided organizational oversight in areas related to risk management, legislative compliance, Board recruitment and onboarding, as well as Executive Director performance management.
The Finance Committee makes recommendations on financial matters to the Board to ensure financial sustainability of the organization. In 2018-2019, the committee reviewed all quarterly financial statements and investment strategy, related Financial policies as well as financial regulatory compliance. The committee also recommended the 2019-2020 working budget and capital budget for Board approval and attended meetings with auditors to review the audited 2018-2019 financial statements.
The Fundraising Committee supports St. Stephen’s fundraising and marketing goals with ideas, oversight and solicitation. Each year, the Committee provides feedback on the Annual Development Plan and quarterly fundraising statements. The Committee was successful in sustaining major donor relationships to secure funds for renovations and funds for Urban Health and Homelessness and Youth Services, as well as annual funds supporting Seniors and Newcomers Services. A couple of other highlights this year included a number of Board initiatives to raise funds from their networks as well as an extremely successful outreach to new donors in our North York catchment area.
Human Resources Committee
The Human Resources Committee is an advisory group that makes recommendations on human resource matters to the Board. This year, the Committee ensured that all HR policies are updated, including the adoption of a new Abuse Prevention Policy, a Management Compensation Policy and an Anti-Oppression Policy. Under support of the Committee, the Joint Job Evaluation and an Employee Engagement Survey were completed. The Committee also oversaw the approval of Updated Annual HR Strategy/Decent Work Action Plan. One key achievement for the Committee was St. Stephen’s recognition as one of the 2019 Greater Toronto's Top 100 Employers.
The role of the Quality Committee is to oversee the quality of our programs and to monitor the progress of the Board’s strategic goals related to programming. In 2018-2019, the committee conducted program audits of the Employment & Training, Newcomer Services, Conflict Resolution & Training and Senior Services programs. Other activities involved reviewing St. Stephen’s Trusteeship programs that support grassroots groups and initiatives, and monitoring of the progress of the Data Quality Project which aims to improve the ways we measure and demonstrate impacts of the programs. The Committee also created an annual yearbook of current data in the six population areas (children & families, youth, newcomers, people who are homeless, people who are unemployed and seniors) to be able to inform program needs relevant to the population groups.
The Advocacy Committee identifies and supports key advocacy issues impacting our community. With affordable quality childcare as the main focus of the year, the Committee developed a work plan whose primary goal is to build capacity of parents in advocacy work. The plan will be implemented in 2019-2020 year with the hiring of a peer parent worker to help create community and advance advocacy for parents in Toronto. The Committee also continued to advocate for and support other advocacy campaigns on issues that are vitally important to our participants, including decent work, affordable housing, and affordable transit, partnering with or supporting external advocacy groups and other community organizations.
Integration Task Force
The Integration Task Force is a temporary advisory group established to research and consider appropriate models and frameworks for integration, in the changing landscape of community service organizations. The main accomplishment of the Taskforce was the creation of integration policy and process for both proactive and reactive possibilities for a range of integration models.
Innovation Task Force
The Innovation Task force aims to foster a culture of innovation at St. Stephen’s as a learning and evolving organization. Though a number of workshops and discussion forums that led to the “Big Ideas Committee” involving staff, management and the Board, the Taskforce launched the Brag Page to capture everyday moments of innovation within our organization and engaged pro bono experts to create videos and help capture our story.