Mountain Communities Family Resource Center (MCFRC)
An interview with Lindsay Larson Call, Board Chair
FJ: What lead you to start working with MCFRC?
MCFRC: Shortly after I moved to the mountain communities of Kern County with my husband and toddler, we got some bad news. Enrollment had gone down, and my contract teaching online would be reduced. We were in a new place with no friends or family, but what we kept hearing was, "Go talk to the Family Resource Center."
From a job board to a food pantry, they were experienced with helping people in crisis. Eventually, I did go into the Family Resource Center and came out with a job. For almost two years, it was my privilege to help others through times of crisis there. I helped senior citizens write custody paperwork to keep families intact through addiction. I helped keep the utilities on for parents facing a sudden lay-off. I helped adults craft their resumes to find that next needed job. When my daughter was old enough, we were lucky to get a preschool scholarship so that she could start preparing for school, something that was initially out of our financial reach. Later, when an infant foster son joined our family, the MCFRC conducted developmental assessments to help us know how to nurture him through the trauma toward missed milestones. All that great work is why I am now honored to volunteer my time as the Chair of the Board of Directors!
FJ: What is your favorite aspect of running a nonprofit?
MCFRC: My favorite aspect of serving as the Board Chair of the Mountain Communities Family Resource Center is the view I get of everything that is going on -- whether it be the marketing, budgeting, or day-to-day operations, I get a window into all of it. This then then allows me the opportunity to think about how we might improve our services to be even more responsive to community needs. It is a creative challenge!
FJ: What are three of your nonprofits’ goals?
MCFRC: The overarching goal of the MCFRC is to improve the quality of life for individuals and families in the Frazier Mountain communities. We do this by providing access to health, education, and safety-related services and programs and connecting remote mountain residents to county, state, and federal resources.
FJ: What challenges have you encountered?
MCFRC: The perennial challenge, as with most nonprofits, is funding. We often find grants that could help us offer more services to the community; however, it is more difficult to find funding to cover the staff time necessary to expand our services.
FJ: What thoughts would you give to others who have similar aspirations?
MCFRC: The Family Resource Center was created based on rigorous needs assessment research completed in the local community. This allowed residents an opportunity to weigh in on what was most needed to improve local quality of life. My advice to anyone considering starting a nonprofit is to listen to the voices of multiple stakeholders, but especially those who will be directly served by it!
FJ: Why do your supporters and followers stay loyal to your cause?
MCFRC: I think supporters remain loyal to the MCFRC, including former clients who give back, because they know that we have always remained focused on our mission of improving the quality of life for mountain residents. They know that when an individual or family is in crisis in our community, there is a place that they can turn for immediate help -- whether that be emergency food, assistance on utilities or rent, referrals for domestic violence shelters, or services for children with special needs. As the COVID-19 situation has hit our community, the phone has been ringing off the hook, both with people in need and donors wanting to help, knowing that their donations will directly benefit those most in need.
FJ: How do you market your nonprofit, which tactics have been most successful?
MCFRC: Word-of-mouth in the local community has always been one of the primary drivers of new clients seeking our services. Beyond that, however, we have some ads in the local newspaper and phonebook as well as a sign on the local business billboard. Among our most successful strategies has been to have employees staff booths at community events as well as specifically outreaching at other events geared toward low-income residents.
FJ: What is unique about your nonprofit?
MCFRC: The MCFRC is truly a community hub for residents of the Frazier Mountain communities. Even residents who are not struggling financially can come for county dog licensing, to dialogue with field workers for legislative representatives, or advice on health insurance. For residents who are in crisis, the MCFRC is a lifeline to a variety of local, county, state, and federal resources to help them get back on their feet.
FJ: Who inspires you?
MCFRC: It sounds cliche but my Mom. She is the most generous, giving person I know, both on a personal/family level but also on a community level. Over an almost 40-year career in public education, she made a difference in the administrative functioning of her school without ever losing sight of the importance of each individual child.
FJ: If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting out, what would it be?
MCFRC: Stay in tune with the individuals and families you hope to serve -- not just by learning about them, but by conversing with them regularly about their needs!
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