11 Jul The Secret to the YOC’s Success

The secret to the YOC’s success is not just good programming and good people. According to Steve and Joan Anderson, there is more at the root of what makes the YOC a strong organization. The Andersons have been longtime supporters of the YOC and have witnessed the fruits of their investment over the years as Judge Caldemeyer’s ambitious vision — to transform the modest Delaware County Children’s Home into a 75-acre campus with ten cottages — became a reality. Three dimensions of the YOC today impress them: a culture of deep commitment to the cause, staff and board passion and consistent dedication to exceeding professional training standards.

“There is a part of the YOC’s mission which says, ‘We don’t and we won’t give up on kids,’” Steve said. As an example, he points to the YOC’s expulsion school, a product of the Community Alliance to Promote Education (CAPE) initiative which he originally chaired. Staffers go above and beyond to nurture kids who are suspended or expelled from Muncie Community Schools, helping them return to MCS and prevent behaviors that could result in placement in a YOC cottage.

“I always noticed exceptional patience on the part of staff and teachers coupled with a firm hand of discipline,” he observed. “The program made a difference in the lives of these children who otherwise would have dropped out of school.”

Steve and Joan view their investment in the YOC through their lenses of experience. As Chairman Emeritus of First Merchants Corporation, Steve is impressed by the quality of management at the YOC, which he says is “really important in our philanthropic program.”

Joan is impressed by the quality of the Boards of the YOC and of its Foundation. As a former consultant for Girl Scouts of America, she specialized in board governance and the relations between board and staff.

“Like others, I hope to see effective governance characterize groups we contribute to,” she says. “At the YOC one can see the enthusiasm that all the board members have as well as board avoidance of micromanaging.” Governance, the Andersons believe, has always been the key to the YOC’s success. “If you don’t have strong governance, you don’t get strong management…without which you don’t get strong programs and strong results,” Steve said.

He believes that in 25 years the YOC has demonstrated to the community that “big dreams can have big results,” from making citizens of “kids people may have given up on,” to the economic impact of creating 400 jobs and empowering kids to become employed.

Steve and Joan recognize that to ensure another 25 years of impact, good stewardship must go hand in hand with a strong staff, effective programming, and good leadership. “Not simply taking care of today’s resources, but planning resources to sustain the institution long term marks the highest standard of stewardship. The YOC has been engaged in careful, long-range thinking about the financial sustainability of its programs. That’s good stewardship,” he said.