Having previously operated “under the radar” for close to its nearly 140 year history, Chase Home embarked on several related initiatives last year designed to raise its profile in Portsmouth and across the state. More than a simple PR move, the push to raise its profile in the communities it serves was designed to meet both internal and external needs, according to Chase Home Executive Director Meme Wheeler.
“Internally, we need to diversify our revenue streams to ensure future fiscal sustainability,” she said. “Externally, the needs of at-risk youth have never been greater. The opiate epidemic in particular has severely disrupted the family structure. Parents and kids are struggling like never before.”
Having recently completed its most recent fiscal year on June 30, Wheeler said Chase Home “benefited tremendously” from more consistent engagement with community members through print and social media. A corporate sponsorship program also yielded several new financial supporters, including Piscataqua Savings Bank and Insurcomm.
Grant-writing also became a major focus, which yielded several major grant awards, some of which have yet to be publicly acknowledged. Wheeler said one award that has been made public, a $15,000+ from the Seacoast Women’s Giving Circle, will significantly boost the agency’s infrastructure.
“It is a capacity building grant that touches on board development and technology—these are the things nonprofits desperately need, but rarely have money needed to invest in them,” she said.
Earlier in 2016, Chase Home was also able to launch an Independent Living Program for teens who would benefit from a period of transition at its residential facility before striking forth on their own. Noting the program was made possible as a result of its selection as co-beneficiary of Lonza Biologic’s Harvest Open Charity Golf Tournament last September, Wheeler said another key asset at Chase Home often goes unnoticed.
“We quite simply have an incredible staff,” she said. “Chase Home is staffed 24/7, and what that means is we have some very dedicated people here who provide the best clinical services possible, but with huge hearts, too…Everyone here cares so deeply for our kids and in kids in general. I am proud to be part of this team.”
In looking ahead, Chase Home Board Member Rob Levey said the Board looks forward to working to support staff in its efforts to expand home programming as well as forging new relationships in the community. Citing one donor who wishes to remain anonymous as just one example, he said the support they have seen from all sectors of the community has helped to galvanize the Board and staff alike.
“We have one donor who has helped us create a media room for our kids and is looking to enhance other areas of our home to improve their quality of life,” he said. “It’s kind of humbling to see someone step forth and make so many contributions and yet wish to remain anonymous. That is just one story out of so many in this past year.”
Serving 36% of youth requiring intermediate placement in New Hampshire, Chase Home is one of five intermediate level group homes in the state. Chase Home collaborates with all major community stakeholders, including district courts and police departments to community mental health agencies, schools, welfare organizations and others.
To learn more about Chase Home, visit www.chasehome.org.