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Review for Dorothy's Place/Franciscan Workers of Junipero Serra, Salinas, CA, USA

Rating: 2 stars  

In many instances, Dorothy's Place is a boon to the community. I myself was fed and clothed by this organization for difficult years. As I learn more and more about the inner workings, however, I find that this organization has a multitude of self-inflcted problems. The Development director, Jill Allen is top notch, along with the administrative assistant Jessica Mayer. Both work very hard to raise funding and to straighten out problems. I have not been impressed with the rest of the management team, however. The management team tends to bury or ignore problems rather than facing them head-on. The willingness to take responsibility for important programs is lacking. Cronyism and nepotisim definite problems. Persons are protected in their jobs when they should be dismissed for poor performance. The Women Alive! shelter program is a prime example. Having been a client of other shelters, I am aware that there are always problems with substance abuse, theft, and violence. The Women Alive! program could take many pointers from these programs and listen to those they serve, but they choose not to do so. These women cannot get a decent nights sleep, many do not bathe when there are facilities available, theft is rampant, control of the area is sadly lacking with women wandering in and out all night, and drug use is allowed right there in the facility. As with this program and others, constructive criticism falls on deaf ears. What is needed is a much more professional approach in recruiting staff members and much greater accountability. Any sort of such accountability is shunned by the majority of the management team. Many problems are not due to lack of funds -- only lack of imagination.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I was fed and clothed for 5 years. I also recieved blankets and sleeping bags. When I came off the street, one worker took a personal interest and concrete action to assist me in getting back into society.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Institute clear realistic goals for both programs and projects. Make sure that there were competent people running those projects. Dismiss those who could not meet the requirements for fullfilling their job functions. Especially, I would get rid of those who were consciously or unconsciously harming the mission of the organization. If someone is causing harm, dismiss them immediately. There are many qualified persons looking for work and would be glad to work here.

How would you describe the help you got from this organization?

A lot

How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?


How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Quite well

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?


How did you find this group?

Through another emergency shelter program. Just by chance.

What, if any, change in your life has this group encouraged?

At least one staff member, Jill Allen, has helped me greatly. She has given me the opportunity, through their micro-enterprise program to exercise my skills in organization, management, and creativity to greatly enhance the long existing but stagnant program. This has been a great help to me, to the other workers, and I believe to Dorothy's as a whole.

Role:  Client Served & I became a quasi-staff member managing a micro-enterprise which provides job training for homeless persons. We also provide a small amount of funding for Women Alive!.