When Nancy Fash-McHenry arrived on Sanibel earlier this year to take over executive director duties at Community Housing & Resources, Inc. (CHR), she was fully aware of the challenges which awaited her.
Such challenges are nothing new to the San Jose, Ca. native, who brought with her more than 30 years of expertise in strategic marketing, resource development and management of services related to community development.
"What I'd like to do here is to help build a greater sense of community," said Fash-McHenry, who earned a bachelor's degree in Communications while minoring in Marketing and Psychology. "Our staff is working hard to respond as quickly as possible to the needs of our tenants."
Nancy Fash-McHenry, executive director of Community Housing & Resources, Inc., officially joined the foundation on May 16.
Last week, both Fash-McHenry and Richard Johnson, president of CHR, presented the annual report of the Below Market Rate Housing Program to the Below Market Rate Housing Review Committee. The report included CHR's five-year strategic plan, revised from the original plan presented to City Council in 2008.
"The economic downturn with its impact on local unemployment, housing costs and increased availability of lower cost housing on and near the island has provided new pressures for CHR," the report reds, in part.
Among the goals for CHR for 2011-12 are reexamining the community's housing needs based upon an evaluation of the LEO (Limited Equity Ownership) component, changing demographic and economic conditions, rental demands and the surplus land inventory completed in 2009; develop a Financial Development Plan for CHR, including annual giving, grants and planned giving; continue execution of plan for rehabilitation of existing housing stock; renegotiate a contract between the City of Sanibel and CHR.
"I'd also like to build an open door policy and establish better communications," said Fash-McHenry. "We do face a lot of challenges."
However, meeting challenges is nothing new to CHR's exuberant executive director. She has a passion for public service and has served on numerous boards for charitable organizations, education and public municipalities.
Fash-McHenry's experiences include serving as the Executive Director of Teach Social Silicon Valley, a San Jose-based non-profit that builds innovative and engaging prorams, providing support and services for individuals with social cognitive challenges. She was the Director of Marketing, Communications and Grants for InnVision, the largest homeless service provider in Silicon Valley, and worked with organizations on affordable housing, and recently with Below Market Rate Programs in five counties in the San Francisco Bay Area and Central California.
During her tenure with the American Red Cross as the Regional Manager, Fash-McHenry oversaw strategic operations, fund development and was highly successful in both developing and furthering its regional capacity. At American Red Coss she also served in National Disaster operations in family services, corporate fundraising, and managed disaster operations for the communities of South Santa Clara County.
From a very early age, Fash-McHenry became dedicated to public service. As a sixth grader, she volunteered after school and on weekends at the Burbank Child Care Center. Later, she began working at Valley Medical Center, which she explained was "a good introduction to social work."
"Originally, I wanted to go into marriage and family counseling," said Fash-McHenry. "Communication is at the heart of so many problems. I hope that I can improve communications and build a greater sense of community here within CHR. Our mission is to provide quality housing and support the people who want to work for and within this community."
The single mother of two children and proud grandmother of four noted her passions outside of work include photography, history and genealogy, having researched her family history back to the early 1600s. But presently, her top priority is to help guide CHR in the right direction.
"Workforce housing is a relatively innovative concept. It's less known and developed from 'affordable' housing," she said. "But while it is innovative, it is also challenging... and refreshing. What we are doing here on Sanibel could become a model for other communities to consider."
"Any time a community attempts something new, I think it's very important to have good leadership in place in order to become successful," Fash-McHenry added. "I'd like to thank our board and the city for supporting CHR over the years. We are heading in a positive direction and we are providing a service the entire community can be proud of."