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2009 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Ritter Center

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Emergency Assistance, Family Services, Health, Homeless & Housing, Homeless Centers, Hospitals, Human Services

Mission: Ritter Center''s mission is to be a strategic leader partnering with individuals, families, and community to foster self-sufficiency for low-income families and individuals and to end homelessness in Marin County.

Direct beneficiaries per year: 4,000

Geographic areas served: Marin County, CA

Programs: Ritter Center assists more than 4,000 individuals each year with shower and laundry facilities, a food pantry, lockers, restrooms, clothing, primary medical care, financial assistance, private voice-mail, general mail delivery, crisis counseling, and referrals to shelters and other agencies. All services are provided free of charge.

Community Stories

28 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

jahbull

Client Served

Rating: 5

My name is Jim Tate. I have been a client of Ritter Center for 3 years. I have found the Ritter Center essential to my survival. I contracted a rare blood virus which left me homeless and unable to do all but the basics of life for myself and have since been living on disability. I dont think I'm exagerating when I say I would be dead without them. When you think nobody cares , go to the Ritter Center they have a huge heart. God Bless you people. Thanks

Comments ( 1 )

Ritter Thanks for your testimonial, Jim. Ritter Center is glad that we could be of service and help during a difficult time in your life. Best of luck to you in the future.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I started out as a Donor, became a Volunteer and then a Client served!

The experience of all three is rewarding on all levels personal and spiritual.
Never did Ritter House waiver on any level with compassion and understanding.

It has been 23 yrs since I walked through their doors, and it was just like walking into their hearts with open arms.

The Ritter House does amazing things for our community!

Client Served

Rating: 5

I came to Ritter Center at a low point in my life. I had my hours cut back at my job because business wasn't good. Then my car broke down and I was stuck with a $350+ repair bill. I paid the garage, but then I didn't have enough for rent the next month. I was getting really worried, but my landlord was really great about it. She was actually the one who said I should see if Ritter Center could help since they had helped one of her other tenants last year. I spoke with a social worker and since I had never had a problem paying my rent before and it was because of an unexpected car repair they helped pay part of my rent. Then they told me that I could come every week to get free food from their pantry for as long as my work hours were cut back. It's been a godsend. I save about $25 each week on food I would have bought at Safeway and it's actually pretty good stuff. That's an extra $100 in my pocket every month and it helps me pay my PG&E bill and keep my cell phone on. I don't know what I would have done without Ritter Center, so thanks.

Donor

Rating: 5

I used to clean out my closets and bring my clothes to Ritter Center because they would give them to people in need for free instead of selling them. Now they have a partnership with Goodwill so only take clothes through church and school drives etc. but I still drop off food and soaps/shampoo for their showers. Last time I donated food I asked for a tour and they were so nice to spend a little time with me even though I can't donate money. I am AMAZED at how much the agency has changed over the last 5 years or so. They have a beautiful new medical clinic and now offer housing services and free therapy! They even have alcohol and drug counselors and work with the county jail and help people manage their money. I was blown away.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

While I have not specifically worked with the homeless for much of my career, I have worked with lower-income families for many years. Ritter Center's programs are extremely impressive; I wonder why more agencies don't implement their model. They have a medical clinic, integrated behavioral health care (this is huge), and case management. They help people holistically and help them stay in their housing or find them housing if they are homeless. I will become a donor once my child has graduated from college. Keep up the good work!

2

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 1

While I am a supporter of RH's core mission to help people in need, I am very disappointed in their attitude and lack of respect for the surrounding community, or advocating any form of personal responsibility. There is no attempt to control or limit the use of alcohol and drugs on the property or in the vicinity, thereby requiring the use of outside services such as the police and fire department to handle issues created and condoned by the staff at RH. The trickle down affect is that the FD, PD, ambulances and local hospitals are tied up dealing with their issues instead of being available for other areas of the city, patrol, or longer response times to your emergency for ambulances from other cities. I would never allow my family downtown anywhere near the RH, nor would I patronize any nearby businesses. Many other local charitable organizations deserve your support and $$$$ before the RH. Other charities implement rules to be abided by, or no service. YOU ARE NOT GOOD NEIGHBORS, CLEAN UP YOUR ACT! (health care provider)

Comments ( 1 )

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Ritter 10/31/2012

Hi Johnston, while I can understand your frustration, your assertion that Ritter Center makes "no attempt to control or limit the use of alcohol or drugs on the property or in the vicinity" is not accurate. We have actually added resources to deal with people suffering from alcohol/substance abuse. First on the treatment end, in 2010 we added substance abuse counselors and mental health therapists to help people suffering from these ailments. Then in 2012, we added a full-time Outreach and Community Relations staff member who provides outreach to clients who are on our property and keeps an eye out for any breach of our policies, including alcohol/drug consumption/possession. He routinely visits with our neighbors to check-in and all of our neighbors know they can contact him if they have any issues with people they believe to be consumers of our services. We also have a uniformed security guard on site three days each week through the same firm that provides security at the nearby San Rafael Transit Center. Hope that helps provide some clarity!

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

My husband and I have lost our savings and our home because of the recession and needed help. We had never had to seek help before and had no idea what to expect. The people at Ritter Center were wonderful. When we're back on our feet we'll definitely be contributing to help them help others.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Started out as a volunteer to help my sister, who is the clinic coordinator, open the clinic an extra day. Fell in love with it. The people I work with care so much, and the clients are so appreciative. What this clinic does with so little is really amazing. I come home after working, humbled to have worked with such amazing people, and grateful for everything that I have.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

I have been involved with Ritter Center's Family to Family program for a number of years. It's a wonderful way to share with those less fortunate during the holidays; though the beautiful thing about Ritter Center is that you can give back all year long. I bring in food, toiletry items, and paper grocery backs almost every month. They treat even these small contributions with the greatest appreciation! I wish I could give more time and treasure to Ritter!

10

Donor

Rating: 5

I am a former employee of Ritter Center (formerly Ritter House) and long time supporter and donor. They do an amazing job with an extremely limited budget providing a broad range of services for the working poor and homeless in our Marin County. Also, Diane Linn is a great addition to the organization. Bravo to the Ritter Center board of directors for adding such a professional to the organization and Marin nonprofit community.

10

Former staff

Rating: 5

I worked for Ritter Center for two years and saw first hand how amazing this organization is. They not only provide compassionate care for anyone in need (homeless, low-income families etc.) but do it on a shoestring budget and with limited government funding. I've never seen such a small nonprofit with such a passionate community following! People really LOVED the Ritter House (now Ritter Center). Churches, schools, Elks, Rotarians etc. etc. Everybody was involved in helping this place help people in need!

5

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Ritter House has been in the business of providing social, housing, medical, job training and finding, food, showers, and other support services to the homeless and near homeless people of Marin County. As a public health nurse, I know close-hand of the problems and needs for the less fortunate of our community. One outstanding service, among all the others if the free community health clinic. Health care is provided by physicians, nurse practitioners, and nurses. Acute, chronic, and mental health, and drug/alcohol dependency problems are handled with understanding and expertise. The Ritter House Community Health Clinic is the only community health clinic in Marin County that does not charge for visits, prescriptions, or medical testing.

6

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I am involved in local politics and have a broad knowledge of public and privately supported services for the poor, homeless and at risk. I've always admired the breadth of support Ritter Center can provide on minimal funds. We also donate materials, clothing, school supplies and funds to this organization because I trust their integrity.

11

Board Member

Rating: 5

My connection with Ritter Center began with volunteer work and then progressed as a Board Member for eight years, involving every aspect of the operation and services of this highly regarded non profit. Ritter Center truly serves those in real need in the Marin Community, often in ways that are precluded otherwise. With this organization the resources do in fact get to the ground. With a low expense to benefit ratio coupled with substantial volunteer contribution, Ritter Center is certainly an organization that Marin cannot do without.

11

Donor

Rating: 5

We have been very pleased to support the Ritter Center. They are an exceptionally well run organization that truly makes a huge difference in our community.

12

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have worked with the Ritter Center with volunteering for Family to Family, Chairing for Auction items for Art with a Heart and yearly Fundraisers. The Ritter has been a great resource for Marin, centrally located, always generous to those in need of their services. I am proud to be a part of such a well run organization. I can remember the faces of people that recieved Turkeys on Thanksgiving, gifts for their family on Christmas, school supplies for their kids at back to school. Ritter helps people when they need it the most. When people need just a helping hand to get them through a bad financial time in their life. It is a place that provides hope in a time of desperation.

5

Former Volunteer

Rating: 5

Volunteering almost every day for 14 years in the upstairs office I saw all the good work that Ritter House (name at that time) did for countless numbers and kinds of people. Food, Clothing, Medical Help, support in general etc. Under several great Directors Ritter House flourished and became Ritter Center and is still going strong today.

3

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

My perspective is unique, as I have had the privilege to serve the Ritter Center as a Organizational Development Consultant. Recently, the center contracted my services for the development of its strategic plan in which staff and board collaborated hand by hand. I was delightfully impressed at the commitment and sophistication level of everyone involved in the process (that is, its very forward thinking Executive Director, but also its Board of Directors and Management Staff.) A great example of how not-for-profits can serve well their constituency and the community at large, and not merely themselves! (This is of utmost outstanding difference, particularly when considering the "extremely hard to reach" population the Ritter Center serves: nothing more, and nothing less than the homeless, or almost homeless.)

3

Client Served

Rating: 5

I'm not sure if I can fit all of the good things about the Ritter House in this one box:) They are by far the most comprehensive and compassionate non-profit organization in Marin. And, perhaps in the whole state of California. Each person who works there does so for the right reasons. They keep showing up day after day- offering a smile, a joke or shoulder to cry on. Thank you all for helping me carve out a better life for myself.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered at Ritter Center for many years. The dedication and caring of the staff and the volunteers is unparalleled. They provide an amazing safety net for homeless and low income families and individuals by offing a wide variety of services - including counseling and medical care. They also have programs like backpacks and supplies for children going back to school, holiday gift giving, holiday dinner for clients, vouchers for clients to get free clothing at Goodwill, food giveaways.