A Remarkable Partnership

Dispatch from Shalom Bayit

Shalom Bayit, the Bay Area’s center for domestic violence prevention and response within the Jewish community, has had a long and successful relationship with the Pro Bono Consulting Practice at the Federation.

Naomi Tucker

Naomi Tucker, executive director of Shalom Bayit, recalled that it “started a while back when we needed to redo our website.” She joked, “Shalom Bayit had a website that was created when websites were created, so we needed a little help.” The Pro Bono Consulting Practice connected Shalom Bayit with Lee Bearson, who helped Shalom Bayit redesign and develop its new website. Naomi added that, not only were they thrilled with the new site, but they were also grateful for the fact that Lee “trained our staff so we could update it regularly ourselves.”

With the success of this first project, Naomi and Shalom Bayit were eager to continue taking advantage of the Practice. Naomi commented, “One of the advantages of the Pro Bono Consulting Practice is the structure it provides, so you can take a project, make it finite, and have a beginning, middle and end, as well as creating mutual agreements and expectations about what’s going to happen.” She continued, “Because the Federation is acting as the intermediary, there’s a level of accountability both on the side of the nonprofit and on the side of the volunteer. Otherwise, even well-intentioned volunteers and nonprofits can drag on a project because it’s this extra activity in their spare time.” One of the fundamental aspects of the Practice that Naomi appreciated was “not only connecting us with experts, but also that little extra push of having structure.”

Lori Campbell

So when Shalom Bayit decided it would benefit from retaining a financial advisor, they knew to reach out to the Practice. They were soon connected with Lori Campbell, financial management consultant with Northern California Community Loan Fund, who has been working in nonprofit financial management for over 30 years. Lori worked in the Jewish community many years ago, but has since worked both as a private consultant and in other organizations. In recent years, she has missed working in the Jewish community and was thrilled at the opportunity to work with Shalom Bayit.

“I feel as though my kids were essentially raised by the Jewish community here,” Lori said, emphasizing her desire to give back to that community. “I’m very committed to the mission of Shalom Bayit,” Lori added, “so this was a great opportunity to give back and help them with something I know how to do.”

There were three key areas in which Lori helped: facilitating ease of cash flow reporting, making changes to their budget categories, and educating Naomi and Shalom Bayit’s board about nonprofit finance structures and big ideas.

Shalom Bayit doesn’t have its own nonprofit status, as it is legally a project of the Tides Center. While this is beneficial in many ways, relieving them of the need to create their own infrastructure for every aspect of the organization, Naomi commented that they “sometimes have different budget categories than what Tides creates for us, and, when we need to send out reports to our donors and fiscal sponsors, there’s often a bit of an untangling process that needs to happen.”

Lori helped create a new reporting system to more accurately represent Shalom Bayit’s specific needs, as well as helping them move away from their current, narrative-based system of financial reporting to the board. She has created forms and spreadsheets and systems that make reporting “much clearer,” Naomi said. Lori then trained the board in how to read and understand these new systems, enabling the board to be much more involved. Naomi stressed her desire for her board “to have a complete understanding of the financial structure,” and Lori has greatly facilitated that process.

Lori commented that there is “always a story behind the numbers,” and that she deeply enjoys enabling organizations to “put numbers to their vision.” After working for so many years in the field, Lori recognizes the need for nonprofits to have good financial management, “so they can really know the full cost of running programs.” She also recognizes how important it is to have “a strategic partner, someone just to call on and ask for help, and that’s the role I can play.”

This sense of partnership was highlighted when Naomi emphasized her own desire to learn from experts of the intricacies of excellent nonprofit management. She remarked that she “came to this work as a person who knew about domestic violence. I knew about how to work with battered women, but not really about running and managing an organization. So, even though in many ways I’m the person who holds the vision, I’ve had to learn so much about nonprofit management. I’m always really appreciative of when I can learn from an expert in a specific area.” She went on to reflect on her appreciation for Lori, “teach[ing] me a lot about nonprofit finance reporting and what big picture issues I should be thinking about.”

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For more information about the Pro Bono Practice, contact Bab Freiberg, Director of Strategic Consulting.


December 10, 2015


Noa Silver