As an active philanthropist, Partner Rick Gavin is heavily involved with Family Service League.
Grassi & Co.: How would you best describe your involvement with the Family Service League?
Gavin: I have been on the Board of Directors at the Family Service League for 12 years, and I just finished a three-year term as Chairman of the Board. Before that I was Chairman-Elect for two years. I also served as Chairman of the Nominating Committee for three years and Treasurer for two years.
Grassi & Co.: Why did you choose Family Service League?
Gavin: Family Service League was originally introduced to me by a client that was serving on the Board there. I looked into it and asked how I could get involved and he assisted in helping me get on the Board. I’m glad he did because I really felt a passion for what the organization does, helping people in need for various reasons such as mental health issues, economic dependency, and homelessness. They help anyone and everyone from children to senior citizens. I really liked that they are dedicated to helping people become productive members of society and help to solve their problems when they’re down.
Grassi & Co.: That’s great that a connection through a client lead to something so fulfilling.
Gavin: Well even going back to college I was involved with community service type organizations. I was mainly involved with an organization called Circle K International, which is related to Kiwanis International. I was involved heavily in college and became state-wide Treasurer for the organization. Once I left college, started my career, and became a Partner, I was ready to get involved with something again, which brought me to Family Service League.
Grassi & Co.: What positive changes have you seen since your involvement with Family Service League? Does anything in particular come to mind?
Gavin: They’ve had tremendous growth over the years I’ve been there, going from a $10,000,000 agency to probably a $25,000,000 agency now. We’ve gone through purchasing and financing a building, a succession of CEO from a retiring executive to a successor. Something that’s kept me there is the dedication of the people; it is kind of contagious. They have a very passionate and dedicated staff and group of volunteers and it just permeates throughout the Board as well. This Board is really very focused on the success and growth of the organization and serving the people.
Grassi & Co.: What do you think you bring to the organization?
Gavin: I bring more of a business aspect. There are people there who are more in tune to the programs and their details but from the business side, as far as managing budgets and budgets deficits, and as I mentioned before, we purchased a building and had to put a financing package together. I was very involved with the succession of the CEO which was a difficult process, but it’s worked out very well. My strengths are helping them with the operations as far as making the organization run as a business. My main objective is to make sure all the programs run in a financially sound way. When there are budget deficits, we look for ways of getting more funding, not cutting programs.
Grassi & Co.: Have you ever experienced the organization having to cut back on programs and/or services?
Gavin: No, they’ve stuck to a philosophy of when we have budget deficits; the last course of action would be to cut a program. They look to cut overhead items first or seek other funding mechanisms. The internal management has been very good about keeping that philosophy of finding ways to fund deficits by means of alternative sources and managing the overhead.
Grassi & Co.: Where does the funding come from?
Gavin: Most of the funding comes from the State; however, we get some grants from private foundations and private donations from businesses and individuals, as well. But, Medicaid and state contracts and county contracts are the bulk of the funding.
Grassi & Co.: Any additional thoughts you’d like to share?
Gavin: I certainly feel over the years I’ve gotten more out of it than I’ve put into it. The rewards of being involved in an organization such as Family Service League of what they do and to be able to associate yourself with that even in a small way is extremely gratifying.
Karen Boorshtein, President and CEO of Family Service League, describes Rick as being extremely helpful in the area of distinguishing operations vs. Board responsibility. “He really embraced the mission and was dedicated to the work we do,” Boorshtein said. She then added, “The Board positions Rick undertook, exemplify his leadership and commitment to the important work that Family Service League does throughout Long Island.”
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