Published in Southwest Michigan's Second Wave
Thursday, July 11, 2013
|BC PULSE IS FROM L TO R: ANDREW TYUS, KATHY SZENDA WILSON, MARIA DRAWHORN, AND LYSSA HOWLEY - ERIK HOLLADAY|
BC Pulse is a new organization whose organizers' deep experience in the nonprofit world is helping other organizations become stronger. Zinta Aistars reports.
Kathy Szenda Wilson and Maria Drawhorn are in recovery.
"I'm a recovering funder," Wilson says.
"I'm a recovering service provider," Drawhorn says.
The co-executive directors are undergoing their recovery nicely under the auspices of BC Pulse in Battle Creek, Michigan, a non-profit organization that the two refer to as a community resource.
"People talk about what's wrong with our community," says Drawhorn, "but what we need to do is spell out what's actionable."
That is what BC Pulse does. Call it a mediator, call it a liaison, call it a go-between. BC Pulse is an organization that ties up loose ends and makes connections where connections are needed. The goal, the two co-executive directors say, is to build a compassionate, engaged, vibrant community.
"We are an organization in our infancy," says Wilson. "Our current funding is a grant to Michigan State University (as our fiscal sponsor) from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation."
BC Pulse was born in July 2012, although Wilson insists there are no founders. Four people are currently on staff--along with the two co-executive directors are Lyssa Howley, associate, and Andrew Tyus, program coordinator.
"We're still working on our elevator speech to define who we are." Wilson smiles. "But the message we most want to convey is that BC Pulse is not about developing new programs. There are plenty of good programs already in place. What we do is help people to strengthen how they do their work."
Wilson worked for 17 years at the W. K. Kellogg Foundation, she says, and during that time, she learned about supporting residents of the community for better outcomes in their neighborhoods. "But I saw a disconnect. Voices were not being heard. Somebody has to pay attention to those voices. So a group of us started talking sometime in 2010. What would it take to develop a group that pays attention to these voices?"
"And I spent the last 15 years in nonprofits," continues Drawhorn. "Always putting out fires. I saw restraints in funding while there was increased need. It's difficult to think about making improvements when you are constantly putting out fires. For me, BC Pulse is a great opportunity to ..."
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