October 22, 2014

Flexible Workforce Translates to Benefit Options

Gulf Coast Community Foundation offers other benefits to compensate for lower pay.

Art Levy | 8/1/2010

Non-profit organizations such as the Gulf Coast Community Foundation of Venice face their own set of challenges, including attracting and keeping good employees while not being able to pay as well as many for-profit firms or offer as many benefits.

Gulf Coast Community
Foundation of Venice

Venice
No. 19 / Small Company

Teri Hansen, the foundation's CEO and president, says she tries to offer in employee satisfaction what she can't in salary. Employees have up-to-date computers and other tools to do their work effectively and are urged to maintain a healthy work-home balance. "For crying out loud, don't ever miss anything that's important to your children, but just be responsible for what needs to get done," Hansen says.


"Don't ever miss anything that's important to your children," says foundation CEO Teri Hansen. [Photos: Jeffrey Camp]
The workforce culture is collaborative, says Mark Pritchett, the foundation's vice president for community investment. "We're not looking at one another in silos with everyone having a specialty."

Hansen also focuses on linking organizational success with individual workers as directly as possible. "We may get a letter from somebody thanking us for something that we did that changed their life, and then we actually tie that to each person on the staff and explain that basically without them it wouldn't have happened," Hansen says. "We work really hard in making sure that our people keep their eye on our mission."

The foundation's culture was tested last year during the economic downturn — when its investment losses topped $55 million — which hurt the group despite its $178.5-million in total assets. Hansen reorganized the staff in the spring of 2009 and cut the workforce from 20 to 16, a move that helped maintain the funding that it provides to other local non-profits. In 2009, for example, the foundation awarded

$11.3 million in grants to the community, up from $8.6 million in 2008 and
$8.4 million in 2007.

Hansen believes that "because we are a community foundation, we think we owe it to our community to model the best practices of a workplace. It's like if we can't, who can?"


Other Perks

> Healthcare: Gulf Coast Community Foundation pays 100% of dental premiums.

> Retirement: The foundation matches employee 401(k) contributions dollar for dollar up to 4%. After a year of service, employees receive an additional 5% contribution to their retirement account.

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