In this installment of the DCFYI Digest, we sat down with Caleb to discuss some of the great accomplishments of the DCFYI board.
DCFYI: Can you give some background about who you are and how you got involved with DCFYI?
Caleb: My name is Caleb Piatt. I am a finance and IT manager; I work for Accenture Federal Services. I first found out about the organization through a volunteer match site, and at the time they were looking for someone to serve on the Finance Committee. After getting to know Susan and some of the other very bright people that served on the Finance Committee, I was offered a role as Treasurer on the DCFYI board. I started that role in the beginning of 2020, and I have been serving on the board ever since.
DCFYI: What excites you about DCFYI?
Caleb: DCFYI serves primarily older youth who are in foster care or youth who have recently aged out of foster care. It's a very underserved population and it gives them access to a community that they wouldn't have access to otherwise. I think it does that through several different ways. Youth are able to attend events with peers and engage with volunteers. There's kind of an organic mentorship relationship that is fostered and encouraged through the organization. There are means and support provided to adults who are interested in adopting the youth. It also helps youth through the recent introduction of the Open Table initiative. It provides an access to an array of adults who are equipped to help youth with challenges in their life that they might not have access to otherwise. And then finally, the organization sometimes supports youth directly, where if the youth have critical needs that need to be met, funds from the organization can be used to meet those needs.
DCFYI: Can you talk about some of the experience that you brought to the board?
Caleb: I brought very little nonprofit experience to the board, but as I stated, in my professional career, I regularly collaborate with the CFO, with the controller and with the IT organization to design and implement fit for scale processes that will help the organization operate more efficiently. And so that experience really helped me step into a role with DCFYI and hopefully benefit the organization. Obviously, it's a much smaller organization. There are just a handful of staff members, but I was able to kind of collaborate with the intelligent group that we have on the board, as well as Susan, to create some processes that allowed us to operate again more efficiently as an organization.
DCFYI: What do you enjoy most about your board service?
Caleb: In my professional life I'm blessed to work with talented people. We all have the same objectives, striving to make the company grow more revenue, more profit, etc. While that work is engaging, it's been incredibly satisfying for me in the last few years to work with the DCFYI board directly, work with the Finance Committee, and work with Susan to support a much more noble cause, in my opinion. No offense to Accenture. As far what I've gotten out of the board, we have an incredibly diverse board, very different personal backgrounds, very different professional backgrounds. I had very little nonprofit experience before I joined the board. Coming on to the board, I was able to learn a lot from other board members about how a nonprofit is managed, what the board's role is, how that role differentiates from the executive director, and really what support the board can provide this organization.
DCFYI: What's been the biggest accomplishment either for you or for the organization during your tenure?
Caleb: Let me start with what I view as one of my largest contributions. Beginning with my role as a Finance Committee member, Susan asked us to develop a policy that would allow the organization to contribute money directly to youth who are in critical need. I spearheaded drafting language that the board could adopt to create our Fund for Critical Youth Needs policy that dictated how these funds would be distributed to youth in need. The timing of it was incredible. The fact that Susan had this idea for the fund for critical needs and in the second half of 2019. The board then came together and adopted a policy in late 2019 or 2020. Then the pandemic hit. Having this policy in place really allowed us to have to be able to meet some of those critical needs that DCFYI youth had throughout the pandemic.
DCFYI: How would you describe the work DCFYI does with your best friend?
Caleb: My close friends know that foster care and adoption are close to my heart. My parents, when I was growing up, opened our home to foster youth and taught me how important it was to serve that population. Eventually, my parents adopted my younger brother. Recently in the last months, my wife and I have been in the process of adopting and currently have custody of a nine-month-old infant. This cause is incredibly important to me, and my best friends know it. What I would tell them is that this is a really engaged community. This is not like a check the box for volunteer hours type of community, but this is a very engaged community that really serves up a segment of youth within foster care that aren't otherwise served. And I can't go through this interview without saying how incredible it is to work with Susan. She's really the driving force and the heart of this organization. I think we were all just enamored with how successful she's been creating the organization over the last decade or so.