Board President Beverly Buchanan & Outgoing Board President Willie Fobbs
Willie – Two months before the United States’ 2020 General Election, the NASCSP board held our own elections. Now that both of those elections have passed and the transitions have begun, I am incredibly happy to welcome Ms. Beverly Buchanan as the new NASCSP Board President. Every transition has an element of uncertainty, but I have the utmost confidence in Beverly to not only continue supporting our members and program clients but also to improve our work in new and innovative ways.
I am thankful for the opportunity this transition presents to highlight the hard work of our members and our shared values of compassion, empathy, and grit that have brought us together. It was these values that first drew me to serve on the NASCSP Board in 2010.
My four years as president were a period of great change for NASCSP and for many of our members across the nation. The NASCSP staff grew and changed, while members made renewed commitments to collaboration and education under new federal guidance.
The beginning of my term marked the 40th Anniversary of the Weatherization Assistance Program. Over four decades and into the fifth, the WAP weatherized millions of homes, was part of the nation’s economic recovery in 2009, and now is part of the effort to address global climate change.
Even more than the WAP, the Community Service Block Grant program went through significant changes while I served as NASCSP Board President. The Department of Health and Human Service’s Office of Community Service developed the Human Capacity & Community Transformation initiative, an effort focusing on promoting economic mobility and long-term wellness for low-income people served by the CSBG program. The new CSBG Performance Management Framework included a renewed focus on local organization standards, state and federal accountability, and the Results Oriented Management and Accountability (ROMA) Next Generation.
We as a network have accomplished many goals and adapted to many changes in the last four years and in the last six months especially. This landscape we currently find ourselves in seems to shift from week to week, but many things remain stable. One such thing is my absolute confidence in the continued efficacy of NASCSP and in Beverly Buchanan as the new Board President. Beverly is fully committed to the work that the organization does. She has shown a willingness to lead and to help shape the future and set a continued path of growth and involvement to ensure the continued success of the CSBG and WAP programs.
Beverly – I would like to take the opportunity to thank Willie for his decades of commitment to community service and for making this transition incredibly smooth and effective. Willie has been nothing but supportive during his four years as Board President and I am sure he will continue to be a knowledgeable and welcome presence going forward. Regardless of the challenges, Willie has always been a leader who treated staff and members with dignity and respect. He hands the baton to me to build upon his lead of fostering a positive cultural environment. Willie has led by example and will continue to be a guiding force for NASCSP.
NASCSP and our members experienced rapid and pronounced changes during Willie’s Board presidency and especially in the last several months. It is quite possible that the coming months and years will hold just as many changes for NASCSP members and programs. Preparing now is critical so this current crisis can become an opportunity to improve and serve more people than ever.
We just completed our first ever virtual National Training Conference and are planning our 2021 Virtual Winter Conference. Our state members are dealing with working fully virtually and learning new ways to conduct Training and Technical Assistance from a distance. As we acclimate to this current landscape we must understand that there is no “going back to normal.” Instead, we can use this as an opportunity to build a new normal where trainings and meetings that occur virtually can be even better than before.
The CSBG and WAP programs will have a role in the recovery from the economic fallout of COVID-19. With increased interest, we are working to ensure both programs see reauthorization from Congress. The CSBG program provided needed support in the midst of the crisis following the passage of the CARES Act. We look toward the future as we continue to work with the Community Action Partnership in studying new initiatives like multi-year community transformations or multi-generational approaches.
The WAP will be critical in both supporting new jobs in a recovery as well as the renewed focus on energy efficiency and sustainability. A WAP stimulus would not only mean more homes weatherized, through new policies it would translate to improved health and safety for low-income families, innovation, and renewable energy. The people on the ground providing the essential program services need support and effective training as the work being done continues to change. That is why the new Workforce Development Working Group was convened and why its focus on developing and maintaining a 21st century workforce is so critical.
Looking forward to 2021 and beyond, I am incredibly confident in our members, partners, and staff in continuing to adapt and thrive in this changing landscape. It is because of that confidence that I am proud and thankful to serve as NASCSP’s new Board President. As both the Nation and NASCSP experience a transition of leadership, we will seize the opportunity to not only continue our programs but improve them. We will do great work with our members in the coming years and I look forward to doing everything in my power to foster the ongoing success of these programs that provide critical resources to people who need them most.