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2011 Top-Rated Nonprofit

FESCO

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Family Services, Homeless & Housing, Homeless Centers, Homeless Shelters, Human Services

Mission: Family Emergency Shelter Coalition serves homeless and low-income families using approaches that instill or restore dignity, self-respect and self-reliance, so that families, their individual members, and the community are strengthened. FESCO was founded in 1986 by a group of churches to help address the needs of the growing number of families with children who were becoming homeless. The 30-member Coalition now includes churches and community organizations. FESCO serves families of all configurations—2-parent families, single dads, single moms, and all children under 18.

Community Stories

10 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1

Client Served

Rating: 4

I stayed at the shelter for 2 months with my two children and had a really positive shelter experience. I have stayed in two previously and they really didn't assist me in finding housing, they just gave me more shelter listings at the end of my stay. FESCO helped me and my children get out of the horrible shelter cycle that most families like myself go though and found us a place to live. I am so grateful to the staff, Evelyn, Korri, Clarence and the coordinator Larissa. I recommend this shelter to anyone who is tired of not getting results or proper help. These people really care and make a difference!

8

Volunteer

Rating: 1

I had some free time and had a skill set that I really believed would be valuable to a non profit. I am doing well for myself, so I decided to give back and wanted to do it locally. I did some research on the internet and found this non profit. Small, local, great cause...
I decided to jump right in and was very excited. After volunteering for about a month, I had mentioned to a colleague about the work I was doing and was very surprised when she was familiar with FESCO and let me know that she worked on their walk a thon's planning committee and was not impressed. She encouraged me to do my research before volunteering any more time or energy to FESCO.
After putting on my detective cap, I learned a few things that did not sit well with me.
I learned that the organization itself is about a $1.1 million organization and their new ED makes almost $100,000.00/ year! ( almost $15K more than the previous ED) Do your math..that's ridiculous. I also learned that almost half of the staff , that work directly with the people they serve, qualify for food stamps themselves because their pay is so minimal.
Understanding that a poer-house ED is worth almost $100,000.000/ a year, I wanted to find out what qualifies this salary.
I found that the ED came from another, similar non-profit, where she was supposedly passed up for several promotions. ( gotta love the internet and staff that will tell all) I do understand that this happens all the time to qualified individuals, so I kept digging. A friend of a friend is a Hayward Rotary member and I found out that FESCO's ED is also a member, so I started asking questions. Seems that the consensus is that she is " a lunatic" and very " narassic" .
My time is valuable and there are plenty of good , deserving non -profits that could all use a great volunteer. I , myself, cannot spend another minute or ounce of energy on a non profit that is led by this ED.
I feel sorry for the people that depend on this non-profit to help them get back on their feet, but between the waste of resources and the reputation of the ED, I will be moving on to the next non-profit.
Please, do your research before volunteering at a non-profit. Their salaries and backgrounds are all public information. Just ask!

1 Kathy234567891011

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My family and I have been supporters of FESCO for several years. I recently became FESCO's representative from All Saints Church, as a member of All Saints Parish. I have toured FESCO's facilities on 3rd Street and Banyan house I can tell you FESCO does an excellent job of providing help to families both in an extremely organized and loving way. FESCO does more than provide a place to stay; they help people with counseling, resources for housing, and support so they can again become productive members of society, with the tools to succeed. My own mother was once homeless as a child, and it was with the help of a Shelter similar to FESCO that enabled her and her sisters to get back on their feet. I believe FESCO's work and mission is very valuable, taking at risk famiies and helping them again become self-sustaining!

Meshill D.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

its my 1st time being in a shelter, but the environment at where i and my kids choose to stay at was not really like a shelter for me is like a home. the staff are great and my overall being in a shelter for the first time was excellent.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have to say that this was one of the most organized places I have ever helped. First, let me say that the work of the shelter manager Larissa is outstanding. She made my experience so pleasurable, that I have asked other friends and family to help out this organization. I know she may not have realized what a impact that she had on me that day, but I will continue to support any organization that has staff members like her. Thank you FESCO for all of the help you provide to those in need!

Virginia C.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered for FESCO by helping provide an updated library in their family area, updated the landscaping, and donated cooking items at Banyan House. In my experience with other services for the homeless, all too often it is a hand-out and not what the person needs or wants. FESCO doesn't profide a "handout", they provide a "hand up". They have created an awesome program that offers guidance and a proven way for struggling parents and families to be self-sufficient and self-sustaining! An awesome model for any service agency!

pandas4cheri

Volunteer

Rating: 5

FESCO is an organization that gives a hand up, not just a hand out. They keep families in crisis together, and offer life skills training to help the families keep from falling into destructive behavior. The best thing to see is when former clients come back to volunteer - the cycle of giving comes full-circle. As long as there is a need, FESCO should be allowed to provide their invaluable services.

8

Volunteer

Rating: 5

FESCO is supported through a coalition of churches, businesses and individuals. I am on the Board of Directors as a representative from my church. Throughout my ten year involvement with FESCO I have met many families who have benefited from FESCO with housing, therapy, skills training. Whenever and wherever I meet families who received FESCO services, they overwhelmingly share positive comments and more importantly, almost always ask about a specific staff person ("Is so and so still there? Oh, good! They were such a help to me!"). I was approached in a grocery store (while wearing a FESCO t-shirt) by an employee who shared she and her daughter lived at FESCO 15 years earlier and that the experience changed her life (and she wanted to know if Clarence was still the house manager - yes, he is). The primary fund raiser each year is the Shelter Shuffle – a 3 mile walk at the San Leandro Marina. It’s become quite a family affair as two or three of my sisters, two brothers-in-law, two nephews and two nieces have become involved as well – helping with registration, driving the shuttle vans, setting up course markers, and most important of all - getting our friends and co-workers to support the walk financially. My family has participated in the fund raising auctions, the back pack giveaway (for residents and former residents) and my niece helped develop a garden at Banyan. I know that FESCO provides great services with very little money. Unfortunately, the programs are not sufficiently funded through government money, and FESCO turns people into tax payers! Through emergency food and shelter to case management and counseling, FESCO staff helps families develop a plan to address their immediate and longer term needs and then helps them implement the plan. They help families develop the tools they will need; finding and keeping a job, saving money for a security deposit and rent, budgeting, therapy and parenting skills training. This is the dignified way to move families from homelessness to self-sufficiency. I’m proud to be associated with FESCO and share the good news about FESCO wherever I go!

6

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been volunteering for FESCO for a little over a year. I have been very impressed with how much they are able to do for their clients with very little money. FESCO provides counseling and life skills training that enables clients to make the changes they need to make in order to provide a stable environment for their families. The success rate is excellent. I have observed the families in FESCO's facilities and have consistently been impressed by their apparent happiness, and the good behavior of their children. The staff members appear to be devoted, and are definitely hard working. The Board consists of unpaid volunteers representing various religious and business organizations that provide support to FESCO. Some members put in many, many hours raising funds for FESCO--their willingness to do so amazes me. Other members contribute in other ways, using their professional expertise to benefit FESCO. Board meetings are work sessions, where problems are discussed and solutions sought. The use of other volunteers has been improving rapidly since FESCO hired a volunteer coordinator last year. The only big problem is money. Support was adequate until the downturn in the economy; now FESCO is scrambling for money. It would be a great sadness if it were unable to continue doing its good work.

13

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Hello World, I would like to tell you how FESCO helped me and my children to live a happy and successful life. We went thru there program in 2003-04. They helped me to manage my income to where I understood savings, paying bills ect... They also provided a save place for us to live well going thru there program called a transitional house. After 5 years of being out of there program they still continue to help with food boxes, clothes, and things are just not in the budget all the time as the economy prices go up. All it takes is a phone call and they gracefull are there to help. Even if you need to move they will still continue to be of service as to give you help with listings of places that are resonable to rent. They also have a backpack program that helps every year and Christmas is also a great help for the children to continue to have a fabulous holiday!!!

14

Volunteer

Rating: 3

MY EXPERIENCE WITH FESCO WASN'T VERY GOOD. THERE WAS TO MANY STAFF CHANGES (HOUSE MANAGERS, DIRECTORS). STAFF WAS NOT ALL ON THE SAME PAGE. RUBY WAS THE HOUSE MANAGER AT THE TIME AND SHE DIDN'T START WORKING WITH ME ON HOUSING WITH DORRIS UNTIL IT WAS TO LATE. ABOUT A MONTH OR TWO AT THE MOST BEFORE I MOVED. WHEN I LEFT THERE I HAD NO PLACE TO GO. THEY TOLD ME OH WELL, YOU HAVE BEEN HERE TO LONG. I DESERVED HOUSING. I DID ALL I COULD WITH MY CHILDREN AND MY JOB. IT HAS BEEN OVER A YEAR AND ME AND MY DAUGHTERS ARE STILL BOUNCING AROUND FROM FRIEND TO FRIEND. I AM STILL WORKING AND I AM ALSO TAKE CARE OF A TERMINALLY ILL CLOSE FRIEND BUT HIS BACKGROUND IS PREVENTING US FROM FINDING A PLACE. HE IS VERY WEAK AND CAN BARELY WALK BUT WE CAN'T FIND A PLACE TO ACCEPT US. WE HAVE TURNED IN NUMEROUS APPLICATIONS BUT KEEP GETTING DENIED BECAUSE OF CRIMINAL AND CREDIT HISTORY. ONCE I HAVE LEFT THER THEY HAVE BEEN AWESOME. THEY HELP ME EVERY YEAR WITH BACKPACKS AND CHRISTMAS PRESENTS AND FOOD, WHICH HELPS MY CHILDREN HAVE A DECENT CHRISTMAS.