As the founder of Michael’s Foundation I truly believed that starting a nonprofit in honor of my son Michael, who took his own life just a shortly after he left his eight year career with the Army, would be relatively easy. I believed my passion and fulfilling Michael’s dream of helping veterans and their families post military to thrive just not survive, would be more than attainable. After all, I spent 30+ years as a C-level employee with large companies, owned 2 businesses, I had the desire, I had the financial backing, and I was surrounded by people who also believed in my mission to help veterans and their families assimilate back into Civilian life post military service.
What I did not understand or could not have dreamed of, is that a for-profit business is way different than a non-profit business, no matter how much passion, purpose, and support one has in creating a nonprofit organization. Certainly I never thought our nonprofit would be in its infancy during a worldwide pandemic; decimating our world through loss of lives, illness, people having to shutter into their homes for months, and worldwide-economic set backs. We felt as though the world stopped functioning as normal in the year of no name, both in our community and our personal lives.
Like many non-profits, as well as for profit businesses, Michael’s Foundation had to pivot to survive 2020. Michael’s Foundation team successfully held on through 2020, and 2021 arrived with high hopes to find our new normal. That hope was short lived, as we began to have Covid-19 variants affect both non- vaccinated and vaccinated people in our local community and to our own Michael’s Foundation team members. Once again, we felt paralyzed, unable to make our mission and vision a reality due to the constraints that COIVD-19 CDC guidelines had on our programs. My team and I were asking ourselves, can we pivot once again as a nonprofit who had a purpose and a passion to serve Veterans and their families?
THE ANSWER IS YES! Here we are today, still in the midst of Covid lurking, but we are holding Michael’s Foundation together: making progress, serving our community with our unique programing that is still free to our veterans. We have reached out to others with expertise and experience in organizing , supporting and running a successful nonprofit. We have used zoom for meetings and google for research. What we at Michael’s Foundation have learned is that it takes a village to be a successful non-profit organization. Yes, there are so many different obstacles to maneuver in a non-profit organization, and it can seem all consuming even in the best of situations, but with the guidance and support of others, our passion continues to drive our success.
In my very short time as a non-profit leader I am learning that it takes a Village to help build a successful non-profit with passion and purpose.. I am learning that by reaching out to others, asking for advice, sharing ideas, holding one another up, learning our trade, and understanding what it truly takes to run our foundation successfully are key. I am so thankful for the opportunity to learn in so many different ways, from so many people that I have engaged with over the past few years. It truly does take a Village. Welcome to Michael’s Foundation, it is our hope you will enjoy learning about our mission and vision; that we have been successful in presenting to the public our passion and purpose. We hope you join us in sharing and caring in our mission and support Michael’s Foundation so we can grow and create additional free programing to our veterans and their families.
-By Kriss Titus