Community Leadership Awards finalists: Community service

Sep 15, 2013 @ 12:01 am

BRUCE E. FYFE

“If we spend all our time with affluent people, eventually that becomes the definition of the world for us,” said Bruce E. Fyfe, executive vice president of ProVise Management Group in Clearwater, Fla.

“Working at the Homeless Emergency Project has provided an important balance for me,” he said.

HEP, also based in Clearwater, provides emergency housing and food, transitional housing and permanent supportive housing.

Mr. Fyfe has served as chairman of HEP's board since 1992.

Over the years, he has taken the organization from two employees and a budget of $100,000 to almost 60 employees with an operating budget of $4.5 million, serving 400 clients per day. Mr. Fyfe raised almost $1.5 million for HEP between January 2011 and April 2012.

Last October, he accomplished a personally significant project for HEP: the opening of a 32-unit complex for homeless veterans of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars. He and his wife raised $3.4 million for the facility in honor of their son, an Iraq war veteran who died in 2009 from the effects of severe post-traumatic stress disorder.

“It was a passion for me before my son died, and it's a double passion now. I don't want others to lose their children the way I lost my son,” Mr. Fyfe said.

CRAIG W. HENDERSON

Craig W. Henderson and a few colleagues were serving on the board of a small scholarship foundation when the Civic Committee of The Commercial Club of Chicago asked them to found a charter school.

“We laughed. We were all businesspeople, with no education experience,” said Mr. Henderson, president and chief investment officer of C.W. Henderson & Associates Inc. in Chicago.

The committee persisted — it wanted businesspeople — and won them over.

Thus, in 1997, Mr. Henderson became one of the founders of the Chicago International Charter School, a system now with 16 college prep schools serving 9,200 underprivileged children. It has a graduation rate of 88%, with 94% of its graduates accepted to college.

CICS' success is due to its flexible operating model and its focus on data-based accountability.

“When we took this on, we decided — as businesspeople, not educators — to hire school operators to run the different sites, and we manage the operators. This gives us flexibility to try different educational approaches,” Mr. Henderson said.

Accountability is having good, reliable and current data, he said.

“We provide immediate feedback to parents, teachers and students to show how much growth is being achieved,” Mr. Henderson said.

“It allows us to set higher growth goals for each child,” he said. “Everyone wins when you have good data.”

BRIAN KEITH MOON

Against all local expectations, newcomer Brian Keith Moon rescued the Hale Center EMS Association.

In 2007, Mr. Moon, a financial adviser with Fresno, Calif.-based SCF Securities Inc., moved to Hale Center, an isolated Texas town about 200 miles northwest of Dallas with 2,200 people and only one doctor (who's in his 90s). The nearest hospital is 20 minutes away.

The local EMS, which had closed down three times in the previous five years, had 20-year-old equipment. Mr. Moon was concerned about the safety of his family and his community.

With a businessman's perspective on how to solve a problem, he volunteered to lead a fundraising effort.

“I came to the EMS with a 10-page business plan. It surprised them. But I didn't want to go sell hot dogs,” he said.

“From my own experience, I knew businesses want promotion, so I created a magazine and a billboard where I could sell ads. My initial goal was $25,000 — the locals were skeptical.”

But between 2009 and 2011, Mr. Moon raised $85,000 from direct fundraising and $116,000 from federal grants.

He takes his success in stride.

“Sometimes just being on a board isn't enough — you need to get involved, ask difficult questions and get your hands dirty,” he said.

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