Impact Profile: Cathy Sharp of Care for the Homeless

Impact Profiles, is a series celebrating our community. We’re talking to non-profit founders, directors, and donors alike about what they care about most and their unique missions. 

We sat down with Cathy Sharp, the Director of Development and Communications at Care for the Homeless to talk about the future of this incredible organization.

What is Care for the Homeless? 

The mission of Care For the Homeless is to fight homelessness by delivering high-quality and client-centered health care, human services and shelter to homeless individuals and families, and by advocating for policies to ameliorate, prevent and end homelessness.

We accomplish our mission through the following:

  • A network of health care delivery sites, including licensed health centers co-located with other non-profit partners, and our newest model of stand-alone, community-based health centers.
  • Two transitional shelters for women experiencing homelessness.
  • Actively promoting a policy agenda to address the barriers to high-quality health care for homeless persons, the inequities in health care, and the critical need for more affordable and adequate housing.
A child enjoys a Health Fair event thrown by Care for the Homeless.

What was one of the most meaningful moments for CftH in the past 18 months?

There have been several! We are in the midst of implementing an exciting strategic plan that is expanding the number of health care delivery sites and services that will help more homeless New Yorkers than before.  Our health centers were again recognized as providing the highest quality health care by an independent, 3rd party entity: the National Commission on Quality Assurance, the Level 3 designation, the highest awarded.

We received 2 grant awards totaling $7.5 million, to renovate and upgrade current health centers and to build 3 new community-based health centers. And, CFH is a Better Business Bureau accredited charity, meeting all 20 of the BBB’s standards for charitable accountability. 

At CFH, we believe that homelessness is not a characteristic, it is a condition, and conditions can be treated.

Cathy Sharp, Care for the Homeless

We believe giving is a lifestyle. What does giving back mean to you personally? 

I grew up in a family where volunteering and helping others was a part of our lives, working with community organizations, our church or taking leadership roles in organizations. Over two years ago, I revived the mentoring program at the NYC chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, to ensure those new to the profession can grow and advance in the fundraising field.

My personal and professional “tagline” is “a career dedicated to helping others” because I’ve known since college that I would work in the nonprofit sector to give back and help those with less.  

What inspires you/Who’s someone whose work you really admire? 

I most admire and were influenced by my mother and father who were constantly active in the communities where we lived, volunteering and joining where needed, and who made life and career choices to ensure that all 5 of us kids could pursue our interests and passions, with the solid base of a quality education. 

Cathy Sharp, on a recent trip to the Grand Canyon.

How do you keep your team and your donors motivated? 

We strive to keep our donors informed about our work and motivated by letting them know how their support has a measurable impact on the individuals we serve. Many people believe that homelessness isn’t solvable, but it IS!

CFH can end homelessness for individuals by making health care accessible and providing the quality of care that each of us receives and deserves, and this can and does help them on the path toward health and housing stability. 

Looking Forward: What’s the next phase of involvement and growth for Care for the Homeless? 

We are already seeing great progress in the implementation of our strategic plan that will, over the next 5 years, allow us to make the highest-quality health care accessible to more individuals and families experiencing homelessness and delivered with sensitivity and respect. Our new community-based health center model will provide more services and more days/hours of operation, increasing the availability of health care to homeless and unstably housed individuals. At CFH, we believe that homelessness is not a characteristic, it is a condition, and conditions can be treated. We also believe that those we serve are people first, not patients, and they deserve the best, delivered by the best and most caring staff anywhere!

It’s now easier than ever to support great orgs like Care for the Homeless with our desktop giving feature:

Click here to support Care for the Homeless! #LetsDonorUP

Want to learn more? Stay in touch with Care for the Homeless on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. And be sure to check out our other Impact Profiles to connect with more members of this community of givers!

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