Homeless Coalition of Charlotte County

Posted by Mark Martella on Wed, Dec 21, 2012 @ 1:15 PM

My first introduction to the Coalition was in the Fall of 2007 through my Leadership
Charlotte Class of 2008, sponsored by the Charlotte County Chamber of Commerce. A couple
of my classmates were involved with the Coalition and I saw homelessness as one of the most
obvious challenges faced by Charlotte County. After learning about the mission of the Coalition,
I mentioned to one of my classmates that I would be interested in serving on the Board in the
future. Much to my surprise, a week later I was advised a Board position opened up!

The Coalition is the first non-profit Board I have served on, and what a challenge and
learning experience it has been for me. When I first joined the Board, the Shelter had not been
completed and we were serving about 35- 40 meals a day. One of the first big lessons I learned
was that after Hurricane Charlie, there was a lot of money available for bricks and mortar
projects to either build or buy buildings. However, the real challenge for any non-profit is
finding the operational funds to operate programs inside of the buildings once they are built.

In December 2008, in large part due to the efforts of then President W. Kevin Russell, Esq.,
the County provided the initial funds to open and operate the Shelter for 6-9 months. As the
Coalition was about to celebrate its 20th anniversary, I then took over as President in October
2009, with the challenge of keeping the Shelter operations funded, which included not only a 52
bed facility, but now also providing over 150 meals a day. My goal was to move the structure of
the Coalition from a day to day survival mode to a more corporate structure with systems and
institutional procedures in place to insure the continued success of the Coalition for the next 20

I believe we were successful in reaching these goals in large part to my fellow Board
members who stuck around when times got tough, and were willing to work even harder to fulfill
the mission of the Coalition, to prevent hunger and homelessness in Charlotte County. However,
the key to changing the structure, culture and future of the Coalition is due in large part to the
knowledge, experience and dedication of three individuals, Angela Hogan, Executive Director,
John Fanning, Facilities Director and Nan Attaway, Board Facilitator. Space does not allow me
to explain all they have done, but I know we would not have achieved all the successes over the
past four years without their efforts.

Additionally, what has amazed me the most in my experience with the Coalition has been
the Team of dedicated workers Angela has put together. These individuals go above and beyond
every day for our clients, often volunteering their time on nights and weekends, to help raise
needed funds, put on events, or help a family in need. These very special individuals make up
the heart and soul of the Coalition, and I would like to thank them for their efforts.

If you would like to make a donation of your time, talent or treasure to the Coalition, please visit
the Coalition’s website at www.cchomelesscoalition.org for more details on how you can help
the Coalition fulfill its mission to prevent hunger and homelessness in Charlotte County