From Lisa: Compassionate Care

  • October 4, 2017

**Important note: this letter was written before we knew that we received The Healing Trust’s Compassionate Care Award at the Center for Nonprofit Management’s Salute to Excellence nonprofit awards event on Monday, October 2nd.**


Tonight my coworkers and I will be attending the Salute to Excellence event, sponsored by the Center for Nonprofit Management. But first, I need to rewind and explain how we got here. Several months ago I asked our team (there are 30 of them across the state) if they thought we should apply for an award being given by the Healing Trust for providing “compassionate care”. The Healing Trust explains, “This award recognizes a nonprofit where love and compassion characterize not only its delivery of service to those in need, but also in the ways team members care for and support each other.” I did not want to apply unless the team believed it truly characterized our organization, so I asked them to email me with their support or concerns.


The staff responses I received were positive and heartfelt, and their words were later used in the grant application we submitted. When we were notified that our application was selected for a site visit it seemed appropriate for the team members to do most of the talking to illustrate our culture. Among talk of our progressive policies, individual stories of how these policies have impacted staff emerged. . One person revealed that her husband has significant health issues and that her flexible work schedule allows her to be there for him while still having energy left to serve her clients with empathy and compassion. Another employee talked about the unprecedented bereavement policy that was created after one of our colleagues suddenly lost her husband. Others shared about the team building and wellness activities that recharge them for the stressful job of advocating for the rights of clients with disabilities. The site visit team asked what winning this award would mean to us and one of our advocates summarized it best—“It means that when people hear about what a great place this is to work, we will have the cream of the crop wanting to join us.”

So, in reflection, as I prepare to attend the awards ceremony this evening, I am incredibly fortunate to work with this team. My coworkers motivate me to be my best version of myself. The policies we create place value on those resources most important to us - our HUMAN resources - because we believe that creating a compassionate office culture spreads to our client.


"The policies we create place value on those resources most important to us – our HUMAN resources-- because we believe that creating a compassionate office culture spreads to our clients."


My coworkers are curers--they are restorers of justice--they are givers of hope and life, and their strength and perseverance is critical to the people we serve. It is a joy to create a culture of compassion. That culture includes tangible policies to ensure that staff have quality affordable healthcare, flexible scheduling to create a healthy work/life balance, ample bereavement leave if they ever need it, liberal parental leave, and the time off they need to take care of their physical and mental health. When we take care of each other we have more to give, and our work requires a lot of giving!

As I record my thoughts of the work we’ve done to implement our compassionate culture, I realize that we may not win tonight. And, truthfully, it doesn’t matter—because we’ve already won for supporting our staff and those we serve.