CPDC’s Turning Point (2005-2010)
Tribute #6 – Our New Leadership: Re-crafting the Future
In 2005, CPDC appointed J. Michael Pitchford as President and CEO. Pitchford immediately began tackling fiscal planning for the organization, and, notably, identified and closed a $1 million gap in operating expenses. While CPDC had already established itself as a premier nonprofit organization focused on preserving and redeveloping affordable housing as well as providing life changing programs for its residents, Pitchford sought to take CPDC to new heights. He planned to do so through a “re-crafting” of corporate protocols and practices that would better position the organization for the future. Between September 2005 and April 2006, CPDC was able to implement initiatives to better align community development programs with its financial realities.
Prior to Pitchford’s appointment, community development programs was its own entity and was even separately housed at Edgewood Terrace. The programs offered were focused and effective, however, there was concern from CPDC’s leadership that they did not reach enough of the resident population. Pitchford described it as a department that made “a significant contribution yet had the potential to serve more of the community.” That potential caused senior management to expand its community development programs and align it with the wants and needs of each community. They did this by conducting community assessments that captured the unique characteristics and interests of residents at its various sites. CPDC engaged residents once it knew what they needed in their lives, acknowledging that a great strength of community is enthusiasm to pursue success. This allowed them to create a more intentional approach to their programs. The opinions of residents were heard and answered, giving them ownership and access to programs that would make an active difference in their lives. This evolution was the birth of movements toward the development of a community building model, which would be expanded in later years.
Additionally, CPDC began embracing third-party partner providers that were able to broaden the scope of the organization without extensive financial consequence. It also enabled CPDC to cover any gaps it had in personnel, and offer quality programs to enrich its communities. CPDC realized that partnership afforded it the opportunity to accomplish its goals more efficiently than the past, while, simultaneously, extending its reach in the community.
In addition to aligning community development programs with the financial realities of the organization, the re-crafting introduced a series of measures designed to keep CPDC financially stable. The roll-out of financial forecasting, a redistribution of resources, and the securing of new funding sources were all key initiatives that led to the sustainability of the organization.
Pitchford credits the success of re-crafting to staff members who were open to change and eager to try new growth strategies. He noted that without having the “right people at the right time,” CPDC would not have been able to expand rich program opportunities to its communities and have the resources to provide them. With staff support, Pitchford’s re-crafting led to company growth, with CPDC now owning and operating more than 4,500 residential apartments/units and, serving over 9,000 residents.