Posted on December 15, 2023
As 2023 comes to a close, so many things come to mind that we as an organization have achieved to build on our mission to help the people we support Live Courageously.
This year we have made significant strides in our efforts to create and sustain a dynamic workplace at Penn-Mar. I am most proud of how our leadership and team members have embraced the six principles from “The Culture Solution.” The book’s subtitle — A Practical Guide to Building a Dynamic Culture so People Love Coming to Work and Accomplishing Great Things Together — perfectly describes the vision I have for our organizational culture.
It is so important that our team members feel truly valued and supported in their efforts. Our Belonging Initiative gave them the opportunity to describe the realities and challenges of their work environment, to express their need to be more connected to leadership, and to identify areas for improvement that could go a long way in ensuring the dynamic culture we all want.
We have taken all this information to heart and are using it to create the foundation for delivering on our brand promise.
Prudent financial decision making has certainly helped us address many of these concerns and suggestions in a more meaningful, immediate way. This is the year we reached and exceeded our historic Building Bold Futures campaign goal, raising $7.6 million to really set the cornerstone for the future of Penn-Mar for the next 20-30 years!
This financial strength has freed up capital for our daily operating funds and wages, allowing us to make great progress in terms of addressing the workforce shortage that has plagued us since COVID.
Of late we have been very successful in attracting and hiring new team members to help lighten the workload of our staff. And in July our Board dedicated $3 million toward wage increases for our Direct Support Professionals (DSPs), signaling our commitment and investment in the workforce that is essential to the delivery of our services. Together these efforts are advancing our vision of providing competitive wages and a healthy work-life balance for all our team members.
To advance our vision of ensuring quality supports we were able to replace a 37,5000 sq. ft. roof on our headquarters building in Freeland; embark on a 10-year community home replacement project; and complete 100% of this year’s defined capital projects.
Our Building Bold Futures campaign secured much of the resources necessary to begin renovations at our Far Hills Day Learning facility which is nearing 100% completion. We look forward to celebrating a Grand Opening with our community partners in early Spring.
These external improvements are a testament to our responsible financial stewardship and more importantly, help us to improve the quality and breadth of the work we do and the enhanced opportunities we can now provide inside our facilities. Even more important is the commitment of our amazing team and we continue to see an increase in the number of our DSPs receiving national accreditation.
I am grateful to all those who have already contributed to our Year End Giving Campaign and encourage all those who have the means to consider including Penn-Mar in your charitable donations.
We certainly don’t worship money, but we do get excited about how financial resources can transform the work we do and the people who deliver our services. Ultimately, it gives the people with disabilities we support the opportunity to live the life of their choosing and provides a comfortable environment for our extremely valuable team members.
Over the course of the next few weeks, there will be holiday celebrations and a gift to once again let our team members know how much we appreciate all they do for Penn-Mar. But because we are a 24/7 operation, some of our DSPs will be sacrificing time with their own families to lend support to the people staying in our residential homes during the holidays.
For them, and all our team members, leadership, Board, and generous donors, I hope you know how grateful I am for our amazing successes in 2023 and the honor of working alongside you today, and every day.