Patrick Wiseman for Lost N Found Youth

Hey y’all if we haven’t met I am Patrick. I’ve volunteered with Lost N Found Youth since shortly after Paul Swicord and Rick Westbrook founded the organization at Birdcage Bingo with Ruby Redd. I served on the tech team and planning committee for The Big Gay Gameshow for most of its existence. I have met many of you at Lost N Found Youth events and fundraisers.

I have experience serving nonprofit organizations and running businesses. I have served on the local and national foundations for my fraternity. I previously founded and ran my own software consultancy for five years before accepting my current position at SalesLoft — one of Georgia’s fastest growing startups. I am running for the Board of Directors of Lost N Found Youth.

Over the past two years I have witnessed a decreasing sense of transparency and focus in the newly established Board of Directors for Lost N Found. The Board of Directors of nonprofit organizations serve a public trust. The board thus far has failed to effectively serve that trust.

The mission to create safety and shelter for Atlanta’s homeless LGBTQ youth is more important than any one person or recent events. We must rededicate ourselves to this organization and finding a path forward together.

I believe one of the fundamental misunderstandings in the founding of the Board of Directors was the separation between the strategic role of the board of directors and tactical role of the Chief Executive Officer. This is how I view the responsibilities and duties of the Board of Directors.

Primary Responsibilities and Duties of the Board of Directors

  • Communicating the purpose of the organization. The board should be outspoken advocates for Homeless LGBTQ youth and understand the hardship and vulnerability of these youth. They should represent the organization dutifully and trustfully to the public.
  • Ensuring the organization is acting toward its mission. This is primarily controlled through the selection, support, and evaluation of a Chief Executive Officer to carry out the day-to-day. Board members do not and should not interfere with the day-to-day operations of the organization.
  • Providing adequate financial resources. This is done both through personal contributions and fundraising on behalf of the organization. The Board of Directors assists in preparing and monitoring a general budget for the organization.
  • Protect the organization both legally and finanically. Nonprofits are businesses that serve in a public trust. They need to operate within well defined rules legally and financially and quickly and transparently report on the organization’s activities.
  • Recruiting and training competent board members. The long-term health of the organization is dependent on finding compassionate people that identify with the mission and can provide financial assistance and counsel. Board members do not run the organization; they serve the organization.

There has been damage to the public credibility of Lost N Found Youth. Mistakes have been made, and mistakes will be made. The mistakes are unimportant in comparison to the lessons we learn from them. I believe the Board of Directors need to set some clear goals for the next year to reestablish trust and transparency with the community. Here would be my goals in serving on the Board of Directors.

I will work to ensure that all corporation legal and financial filings as well as board meeting minutes are available publicly online as well as by request. I will work to open board meetings to the community, provide published updates from the board of directors, be involved in community events, engage the press, and over rather than under communicate the ongoing business of the board.

I will work with the rest of the board and community on establishing key performance indicators for the organization against which the Chief Executive Officer will be evaluated. There will be published evaluations and assessments of organizational performance under the Chief Executive Officer.

I will work to integrate both minimum and target director donations and fundraising. We will report on the fundraising goals, the efforts of each board member, and whether the board as a whole is meeting its fundraising efforts.

I will provide my layman’s interpretation of the legal and financial security of the board as well as soliciting expert opinion. I will work to train myself and the rest of the board on the importance of these governance documents.

Mostly I aim to focus with the rest of the board on these activities and to remove ourselves from the day-to-day operations and responsibilities reserved for the Chief Executive Officer. I intend to return to a more traditional structure with only the Chief Executive Officer reporting to the board. I intend to vote to return Rick Westbrook to Chief Executive Officer effective immediately.

I would love to talk and hear more from everyone in the community. I especially would love to attend the meeting this Friday and run for the Board of Directors. Unfortunately, prior travel puts me out of touch in Montana and Idaho for the next week. Please feel free to comment or email me. Should I be allowed to run in absentia I gladly accept the nomination. Ask me anything.

Faithfully Yours,

Patrick Wiseman