From the CEO – February 2020

From the CEO – February 2020

From the CEO – February 2020 1000 1100 St. Vincent de Paul Detroit

Dear Sister and Brother Vincentians:

Peace be with you.  Last year was another incredibly busy and successful year! Before setting sights on 2020, which, if we pull together, promises to be an even better year, I offer the following review of SVdPD 2019.

First and foremost, our Council is stronger and much more stable than it has been in quite some time.  Among many other things, in 2019 together we have:

  • In less than two years, eliminated a significant operating debt entirely, and after several years in the red, finished in the black;
  • Reorganized and strengthened our leadership team;
  • Held several successful annual events;
  • Successfully completed an independent audit;
  • Successfully completed the state EAP application process and received 100% of the requested amount;
  • Increased annual fund donations by 9.2%; and
  • As a Council, continue to stabilize and advance our inspirational Vincentian mission by offering rewarding, spiritual-based programs and promoting our core value of friendship along the way.
  • It’s been a tremendous TEAM effort!


Conference Support 

Conference Formation

    • A total of 16 training programs offered and 332 Vincentians participated.
    • 6 Invitation to Serve presentations.
    • 100% of the Conferences turn in their Annual Report.

Conference Support Events

    • 2019 Annual Meeting
    • Evening of Reflection (Fr. Steve Hurd, S.J.)
    • Feast Day – welcomed new Council servant leaders
    • Top Hat Vincentian Awards Banquet

Friends Walk

  • Over 600 people participated in the walk
  • Raised over $93,000.

Development & Marketing

  • In addition to an increase of 9.2% to our Annual Fund, we also received a very generous bequest during FY 2019.  Pursuant to an approved board resolution, these funds were promptly placed in a board restricted bank account.  As outlined in the resolution, they are currently unallocated pending determination by the BOD’s direction on the disposition of these funds.
  • We welcomed new members to the Foundation Board and thereby strengthened it.
  • Under the guidance of our marketing consultant, Scott Bettinger and his team at Echo Media, we continued our See the Possible marketing and branding campaign to increase awareness of our Detroit Council:
    • New building signage identifying the Central Office on Gratiot;
    • New Council highlight videos (General, Home Visit & Camp);
    • Ave Maria Radio Spots;
    • Billboard Campaign;
    • Speaking Opportunities to community and civic groups;
    • Weekly Wrap Up – internal e-letter aimed at raising communication among SVdPD staff and others;
    • Conference Connection – monthly column (all issues are posted on our website)
    • Thanks so much for the great feedback from Vincentians who chose to provide it!  


  • Inaugural Top Hat Ball (October 12th)
    • spectacular success (for a first time event)
    • 450 attended at TCF Center (f/k/a Cobo Hall)
    • Perfect venue for our first such effort
    • Save the Date – Top Hat II
    • Friday, October 2, 2020 at the Fillmore Theater
  • SVdP International President’s Visit (June)
    • President  Renato Lima de Oliviera
    • First ever  visit to our Detroit Council by a sitting SVDP International President
  • Inaugural Young Professionals Event
    • Successful effort to attract more young people to support our mission and Council .
    • More planned for 2020.
  • SVdPD Staff Christmas Brunch – according to Patrick Adamcik, a most dedicated member at SVdPD for 47 years, “first such celebratory gathering where all staff were able to attend together.”  It was a wonderful morning of friendship.  

Human Resources

  • Continued to improve the Human Resources efforts of our Central Office in partnership with Kate Fogg and the team at America’s Back Office (ABO); worked through several transitions;
  • Reorganized and added new members to our Leadership Team:
    • Kristen Bolds, MEAP Program Director
    • Tom Butler, Director of Finance
    • Debbie Jackson, Director of Conference Support
    • Keith Koppmeier, Director of Development
    • Mary Torok, Director of Operations & Administration
    • Megan Williams, Director of Retail Operations
  • Welcomed new AOD board leadership & advisory committees:
    • AOD Board President, Nancy Szlezyngier
    • AOD Spiritual Advisor, Bishop Donald Hanchon
    • Finance Committee
    • Real Estate Advisory Team;
    • Strategic Plan Committee 


  • Sent 490 children to camp in Summer 2019.
  • Successfully negotiated a one-year extension of our 12 year Management Agreement with CYO.
  • Formed a Camp Endowment Leadership Team in preparation for our 100th Anniversary.

Stores/Resource Recovery Center (RRC)

  • 100% committed to our stores.  We understand they are a critical resource for our Vincentians & conferences in their efforts to assist our neighbors in need.
  • But, as a business, we need to take an holistic approach to our stores operation.
  • Have begun initiatives to rebrand and enhance our overall stores operation, including:
    • Kaizen events at Dixie, Utica and Madison Heights;
    • Resurfaced Dixie Hwy Store parking lot ;
    • Loss Prevention Review;
    • RRC – Expanded Space for Processing Center ;
    • Store Closings – Grand River, West Bloomfield & Lincoln Park;
    • New Lincoln Park Store Opening (4089 Dix Hwy) – Spring 2020;
    • We continue to proactively explore options for new stores close in proximity to those that were closed.  
    • We encourage all Vincentians to visit our stores and volunteer! 


FY2020 has started strong!  We are optimistic about our future, especially if we embrace what lies ahead with friendship and support of one another. 

In conclusion, I reference our inaugural Top Hat Ball’s  very special guest and keynote speaker,

Cardinal Joseph Tobin – an incredible human being and a fellow Vincentian!

Cardinal Tobin ended his truly inspirational Top Hat speech by referring to AOD Vincentians as the “Saints of Motown.”

Heartfelt thanks to each of you, Saints of Motown!!! Let’s embrace the opportunities and challenges that 2020 offers together and let us remain razor-focused on our mission.

God bless.

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