ConnectVA Spotlight: Megan Rollins, President and CEO, Boaz & Ruth
Tell us about yourself.
My name is Megan Rollins and I’m the President/CEO of Boaz & Ruth. I grew up in Richmond and attended Mary Baldwin College, now Mary Baldwin University. I have been with Boaz & Ruth for 10 years starting as the volunteer coordinator and have had the opportunity to learn about nonprofit management when opportunities through staff transition took place over the years.
What is the need you’re trying to address?
Our mission is to rebuild lives and communities through relationships, training, transitional jobs and economic revitalization. We primarily serve returning citizens who are looking for an opportunity to rebuild their lives. We run a national, biblically based curriculum, Jobs for Life, to help our participants understand God has a plan for their life which includes meaningful work that provides dignity and hope for the future.
What do you find most rewarding about your work?
The most rewarding part of my job is the relationships with participants, graduates, staff and community members; especially participants who are putting in the work to create a different future for themselves. In addition I get to work with graduates and staff who are dedicated and hardworking who show me every day what it looks like to live by faith.
What are some major challenges you have faced and how you handled them?
Over the past four years we have been focused on financial stability to ensure we are here to serve people and our community for another 15 years. To do this the board had to make hard decisions that have paid off. We focused on increasing income, decreasing expenses and leveraging partnerships. This meant temporarily suspending programs and a reduction in staff. What remained was a core group of graduates, staff and board members who rolled up their sleeves and went to work in a new way with a renewed commitment to serving returning citizens. We just finished a strategic plan focusing on program redesign which is exciting, providing us with new energy and reaching out to build new partnerships.
What’s one misconception the public has about your organization?
I think most people thought we were on a slow march toward closing. Thankfully many people and organizations have been supportive of the change management work we have done and are now in the renewing stage of a nonprofits lifecycle.
Do you have any interesting initiatives or programs on the horizon?
We are working on program redesign and are building new partnerships. At one time, Boaz & Ruth was the trainer and employer for participants. We are now looking for partners to provide part time, transitional employment for participants in select industries including food service, maintenance, janitorial and construction. We are also strengthening data collection and measurements.
Tell us more about the partnerships and collaborations you are involved in.
Storefront for Community Design came to us in 2015 with an idea for a youth innovation center in Highland Park that specifically serves high school youth. Storefront pulled together Saving Our Youth, GroundworkRVA and ART180 to apply for the The Robins Foundation Community Innovation Grant. With the support of Virginia LISC they won the second place grant in December of 2015. This led to the 6 Points Innovations Center (6PIC for short).
With a focus on re-entry and being strategic in our partnerships Boaz & Ruth recognizes the need for multiple interruption points in the cycle of poverty, we see the 6PIC nonprofits as partners in interruption. We were excited to leverage our assets and provide a space for collaboration between four strong nonprofits. To that end, 6 Points Innovation Center’s ribbon cutting ceremony is scheduled for June 6th.
Storefront for Community Design, Saving Our Youth and Groundwork RVA will be headquartered along the Meadowbridge corridor providing presence and innovative programing for high school students who live in Highland Park and attend John Marshall, Community, Franklin Military and Armstrong High Schools.
How are you leveraging ConnectVA to achieve your mission?
We receive ConnectVA’s daily email communications and look for training opportunities for staff and graduates. It helps us to remain up to date on nonprofit news.
Anything else you would like to share?
Like every other nonprofit we are always looking for new board members and partners. In addition, we have multiple spaces we make available to nonprofit and community partners for meetings.