February 6, 2017
SHOP TALK

Catholic Charities to raise profile, volunteer base

PHOTO/BRAD KANE
Tim McMahon, executive director, Catholic Charities Diocese of Worcester

VIEW: Catholic Charities to grow volunteer base in Worcester

Tim McMahon

TITLE: Executive director

COMPANY: Catholic Charities Diocese of Worcester

AGE: 54

BIRTHPLACE: Worcester

RESIDENCE: Holden

EDUCATION: Bachelor's degree in business management from Worcester State University; master's degree in public affairs from UMass Boston

On Jan. 3, McMahon took over the top job at Catholic Charities in Worcester, a nonprofit with $9 million in annual revenues providing a variety of human services. The former chief operating officer of the Massachusetts State Lottery and 25-year veteran of government, McMahon wanted to return to his passion of helping people in need.

McMahon sat down with WBJ to discuss increasing the nonprofits brand recognition, in order to grow its volunteer base.

Why go into human services?

I was raised in a family that believed social services were very much needed to help those in need. My dad grew up as one of six siblings, and they did not have a father. They, through the help of church and welfare, were able to pay their rent and their basic necessities. As each of the siblings were employed and began to give my grandmother money, they were able to get off of assistance, but it was never forgotten by my dad. That was something he instilled in us.

How did that apply to your early career?

I started out after college, working for the state for what was then the Department of Public Welfare. I provided housing search for people staying in state-funded hotels and shelters.

Then I was given an opportunity by the State Treasurer Shannon O'Brien to come onto her administration and write policy around the American with Disabilities Act on how folks could access lottery product. I was ultimately promoted up to chief operating officer at the lottery and ran the day-to-day operations.

It was around that point I started getting into more the administrative end and wasn't really into the human services anymore, so I joined the board at nonprofit YOU, Inc. here in Worcester.

Why did you apply at Catholic Charities?

I wanted to get back where my passion was, and I was at the point in my career where I could do that. So, I decided to take the 25 years of skills I had accrued working in government and apply that to where I could lead an agency.

What are your plans for the nonprofit?

Talking with people in the community, they don't know what Catholic Charities does. They know we are a good organization and do some good work. People didn't know we run a homeless shelter or the Crozier House, which is a six-month program for men in recovery.

The mission of the agency is to provide the basic needs to live. For those who are hungry, we have the food pantry. For those who are homeless, we have the homeless shelter.

How do you improve that mission?

We are building a robust and strategically placed volunteer base.

How does that volunteer base grow?

For us to do that, there needs to be name recognition in the community. So I am going to be out and about, and I have started that aggressively already – meeting with the parish priests and the local leaders in the community.

I want to create this marriage between the business community, the civic community and religious organizations where we are able to talk about what we do and then build our volunteer base.

How many volunteers do you have?

We don't have a firm grasp of what our volunteer base is, so I've asked the CFO to take the lead and build a team to figure out what our needs are for information for a database. That information is important for the managers to manage their staff effectively; it is important for the senior managers to have a more global understanding of what is going on; and it is important for me when I go out in the community to show our success.

Will you need more funding?

We will be more aggressive in pursuing grants – private, federal and state grants. We are going to try to increase our public donor base, both individual and corporate donors.

We don't necessarily need an expansion of our revenues right now because we are not talking about expanding our programs. That may be something we choose to do down the line.

Any ongoing success of our current programs and expansion of what we offer is going to be dependent on the kindness and generosity of the community at large.

This interview was conducted and edited for length and clarity by Brad Kane, WBJ editor.

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