South Oakland Shelter

Building equitable communities that alleviate poverty.

aka Lighthouse MI   |   Pontiac, MI   |
GuideStar Charity Check

South Oakland Shelter

EIN: 38-2847849


We endeavor to build equitable communities that alleviate poverty in partnership with and in service to individuals, families, and organizations

Ruling year info


President & CEO

Ryan Brandt Hertz

Main address

46156 Woodward Ave

Pontiac, MI 48342 USA

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Subject area info

Food aid

Shelter and residential care

Homeless shelters

Population served info

Children and youth


Economically disadvantaged people

At-risk youth

Homeless people

NTEE code info

Temporary Shelter For the Homeless (L41)

Housing Expense Reduction Support, Rent Assistance (L82)

Housing Search Assistance (L30)

What we aim to solve

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Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Emergency Shelter

Lighthouse recently opened a family emergency shelter that serves up to 18 families (61 individuals) each night. The individual apartments give families privacy and Lighthouse provides meals, activities, and case management to help families get back on their feet. This is the only permanent family emergency shelter in Oakland County.

In 2023, Lighthouse served 339 individuals (including 226 children) with 21,626 nights of emergency shelter.

Population(s) Served
Homeless people

Implementing housing-first programming allows Lighthouse to serve more people while reducing the increased community costs associated with re-stabilizing a greater number of people exposed to the trauma of homelessness. Lighthouse provides critical housing assistance programs targeting specific sub-populations, including: Chronic-Homeless Leasing Assistance Program, Rapid Re-Housing, and Supportive Housing for Individuals and Families in Transition.

In 2023, our Medium-Long Term Housing Programs (Permanent Supportive Housing, Transitional Housing, Emergency Housing Vouchers) provided housing assistance to 240 individuals. We also served 162 individuals in 50 households through Rapid Re-housing.

Population(s) Served

We believe that access to ongoing supportive services greatly assists households
in quickly resolving, and in some cases totally preventing, crises. Our supportive services
center around helping households retain their housing and increase their overall
stability. If enrolled in one of our housing programs, households are provided with consistent in-home
case management. Clients and case managers work together to establish service
plans that are specific to clients needs, goals, and desires. Supportive services
may include connection to benefits such as social security and SNAP, landlord
engagement to help households with lease compliance, access to basic needs such
as transportation and personal care items, and referrals to other service providers.

In 2023, 252 individuals from 93 households were served through follow-up care programming. 96% maintained their housing and increased their self sufficiency.

Population(s) Served

Many of the needs households have are unique or not covered by existing grant and funding streams. Lighthouse helps households meet these needs through our flexible online fundraising platform, HandUp. Since inception, we have raised nearly $4.5 million on HandUp to support projects and clients at Lighthouse. These funds have helped support our programs and over 1,000 clients meet their goals by providing funds for housing, transportation, education, medical expenses, and other basic needs.

Population(s) Served
Homeless people

Lighthouse continues to distribute emergency food in ways that protect clients, volunteers, and staff from contracting and spreading COVID-19. From our newly established food warehouse we store, package, and distribute produce and shelf stable food boxes. Lighthouse makes every effort to provide well-balanced food boxes packed with fresh produce, milk, bread and pantry stables such as pasta, cereal, canned meats, peanut butter, jelly, soups and beans. We distribute through home delivery, curbside pick-up at our Pontiac and Clarkston pantries, and at offsite partner locations in Royal Oak, Ferndale, Clarkston, and Southfield.

Home deliveries are happening through a network of volunteers and a partnership with Amazon delivery drivers. In 2023, we served 154,357 total individuals from 55,307 households. We also completed 13,737 at-home food deliveries.

Population(s) Served

Where we work


Most Outstanding Volunteer Program 2009

Governor's Service Award

Health Impact Award 2022

Governor's Service Award

Finalist - Best Managed Nonprofit 2020


Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of bed nights (nights spent in shelter)

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Emergency Shelter

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Percentage of clients in our stability service programs that maintained their stability for one year.

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Follow-up Care

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Number of individuals served through our housing programs

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Housing Programs

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success


Number of individuals served through our Emergency Shelter Program

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Emergency Shelter

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success


Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

What we learned throughout 2020 and in the months following, is that while our team was able to sufficiently meet the increased need, our response was merely a short-term band-aid to a wide-scale, systemic issue. While COVID-19 exacerbated the needs of those struggling prior to the pandemic and impacted others for the first time, it also showed us a better way to serve people. With more attention and support from our community of donors, volunteers, and local officials, Lighthouse has been able to serve more people, more efficiently, and with more dignity than ever before. We now have a much better understanding of what is needed.

Lighthouse aims to increase our role in the emergency food services to help meet Oakland County’s scope of need, explore increased emergency shelter availability for children, adults, and families, become a leader in educating and inspiring members of the community to alleviate poverty, and increase services to existing clients through programs like the Center for Working Families.

The sense of urgency around sheltering the homeless and providing food to families in the midst of a pandemic shifted funding and program policies in a way that allowed us to serve a greater number of people in need. Lighthouse plans to work with community leaders, partner agencies, and government officials to continue serving at this heightened level while working towards implementing long-term solutions to the problems our community faces. We know what to do, and if given the right opportunities with the right partners and adequate funding, we can work together to alleviate poverty within Oakland County.

In February 2023, Lighthouse announced a $20M campus redevelopment and expansion project that include a housing opportunity center, a social supermarket, community spaces, and an economic opportunity center.

As one of the only emergency shelters equipped to serve families, and one of only a few 5-day a week food pantries that also offers food delivery in Oakland County, Lighthouse has been at the forefront of serving low-income families for decades. We know the struggles our neighbors face and the toll poverty takes on families and communities.

Lighthouse has identified the goals listed above as part of our strategic plan for the organization and is working to connect with community leaders, partner agencies, and government officials to help accomplish these goals. We have been growing our team to help us keep up with the growing demand in our community and are working with experts on long-term plans.

In February 2023, Lighthouse announced a $20M campus redevelopment and expansion project that include a housing opportunity center, a social supermarket, community spaces, and an economic opportunity center.

Stay tuned to our website for more updates.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We demonstrated a willingness to learn more by reviewing resources about feedback practice.
done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We take steps to get feedback from marginalized or under-represented people, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We look for patterns in feedback based on demographics (e.g., race, age, gender, etc.), We look for patterns in feedback based on people’s interactions with us (e.g., site, frequency of service, etc.), We engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive, We tell the people who gave us feedback how we acted on their feedback, We ask the people who gave us feedback how well they think we responded

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to get the people we serve to respond to requests for feedback


South Oakland Shelter
Fiscal year: Jul 01 - Jun 30
Financial documents
2022 Lighthouse 2022 Audit 2021 Lighthouse 2021 Audit 2020 South Oakland Shelter DBA Lighthouse MI
done  Yes, financials were audited by an independent accountant. info

Revenue vs. expenses:  breakdown

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info
Note: When component data are not available, the graph displays the total Revenue and/or Expense values.

Liquidity in 2022 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Average of 1.66 over 10 years

Months of cash in 2022 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Average of 2.5 over 10 years

Fringe rate in 2022 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Average of 20% over 10 years

Funding sources info

Source: IRS Form 990

Assets & liabilities info

Source: IRS Form 990

Financial data

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

South Oakland Shelter

Revenue & expenses

Fiscal Year: Jul 01 - Jun 30

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

Fiscal year ending: cloud_download Download Data

South Oakland Shelter

Balance sheet

Fiscal Year: Jul 01 - Jun 30

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

The balance sheet gives a snapshot of the financial health of an organization at a particular point in time. An organization's total assets should generally exceed its total liabilities, or it cannot survive long, but the types of assets and liabilities must also be considered. For instance, an organization's current assets (cash, receivables, securities, etc.) should be sufficient to cover its current liabilities (payables, deferred revenue, current year loan, and note payments). Otherwise, the organization may face solvency problems. On the other hand, an organization whose cash and equivalents greatly exceed its current liabilities might not be putting its money to best use.

Fiscal year ending: cloud_download Download Data

South Oakland Shelter

Financial trends analysis Glossary & formula definitions

Fiscal Year: Jul 01 - Jun 30

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

This snapshot of South Oakland Shelter’s financial trends applies Nonprofit Finance Fund® analysis to data hosted by GuideStar. While it highlights the data that matter most, remember that context is key – numbers only tell part of any story.

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Business model indicators

Profitability info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Unrestricted surplus (deficit) before depreciation $206,596 $268,501 $1,290,045 $1,712,307 $3,447,053
As % of expenses 9.4% 11.6% 22.2% 13.4% 13.0%
Unrestricted surplus (deficit) after depreciation $177,280 $239,091 $1,259,933 $1,618,703 $3,227,595
As % of expenses 8.0% 10.2% 21.6% 12.5% 12.0%
Revenue composition info
Total revenue (unrestricted & restricted) $2,411,195 $2,511,131 $6,855,603 $13,086,858 $30,279,026
Total revenue, % change over prior year 3.5% 4.1% 173.0% 90.9% 131.4%
Program services revenue 0.0% 0.0% 2.6% 1.4% 0.5%
Membership dues 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Investment income 0.2% 0.2% 0.1% 0.1% 0.0%
Government grants 41.3% 37.7% 18.8% 40.9% 69.2%
All other grants and contributions 58.2% 62.0% 78.2% 56.5% 29.6%
Other revenue 0.2% 0.0% 0.2% 1.1% 0.8%
Expense composition info
Total expenses before depreciation $2,190,262 $2,311,455 $5,802,731 $12,826,152 $26,615,574
Total expenses, % change over prior year 9.4% 5.5% 151.0% 121.0% 107.5%
Personnel 39.0% 44.3% 28.2% 22.2% 12.4%
Professional fees 1.5% 2.1% 5.9% 5.0% 5.8%
Occupancy 0.6% 0.5% 4.3% 3.4% 2.2%
Interest 0.0% 0.0% 0.1% 0.0% 0.0%
Pass-through 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
All other expenses 58.9% 53.2% 61.5% 69.4% 79.5%
Full cost components (estimated) info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Total expenses (after depreciation) $2,219,578 $2,340,865 $5,832,843 $12,919,756 $26,835,032
One month of savings $182,522 $192,621 $483,561 $1,068,846 $2,217,965
Debt principal payment $32,675 $34,345 $0 $419,906 $0
Fixed asset additions $0 $31,780 $0 $1,475,555 $2,770,794
Total full costs (estimated) $2,434,775 $2,599,611 $6,316,404 $15,884,063 $31,823,791

Capital structure indicators

Liquidity info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Months of cash 3.1 1.9 4.6 5.4 2.2
Months of cash and investments 4.3 3.1 5.1 5.6 2.3
Months of estimated liquid unrestricted net assets 5.1 5.9 4.9 2.4 1.5
Balance sheet composition info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Cash $563,244 $359,804 $2,230,536 $5,726,809 $4,891,670
Investments $219,165 $230,308 $246,970 $300,802 $258,483
Receivables $237,653 $244,731 $502,326 $701,272 $1,102,831
Gross land, buildings, equipment (LBE) $657,620 $689,400 $709,864 $3,932,290 $6,777,186
Accumulated depreciation (as a % of LBE) 34.7% 37.3% 40.5% 54.1% 35.7%
Liabilities (as a % of assets) 14.7% 8.2% 24.1% 50.7% 34.6%
Unrestricted net assets $1,262,959 $1,502,050 $2,761,983 $4,380,686 $7,608,281
Temporarily restricted net assets $60,000 $0 N/A N/A N/A
Permanently restricted net assets $38,612 $38,197 N/A N/A N/A
Total restricted net assets $98,612 $38,197 $117,843 $68,786 $249,098
Total net assets $1,361,571 $1,540,247 $2,879,826 $4,449,472 $7,857,379

Key data checks

Key data checks info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Material data errors No No No No No


The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

Form 1023/1024 is not available for this organization

President & CEO

Ryan Brandt Hertz

Ryan Hertz assumed the role of CEO at Lighthouse in January of 2019. Since joining SOS in 2010, he and his team have expanded SOS’s scope of services to encompass emergency shelter, rental assistance, affordable housing development, supportive service solutions, and crowdfunding technologies that have contributed to thousands of displaced people getting back on their feet and finding a renewed sense of purpose. Ryan is now leading Lighthouse after merging with SOS to further both organizations’ combined efforts to meet the critical and escalating emergency and longer-term needs of the working poor, homeless, and otherwise impoverished members of our community. He is passionate about connecting those with a giving spirit to powerful opportunities that change the lives of others.

Number of employees

Source: IRS Form 990

South Oakland Shelter

Officers, directors, trustees, and key employees

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

Show data for fiscal year
Compensation data
Download up to 5 most recent years of officer and director compensation data for this organization

South Oakland Shelter

Highest paid employees

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

Show data for fiscal year
Compensation data
Download up to 5 most recent years of highest paid employee data for this organization

South Oakland Shelter

Board of directors
as of 02/09/2024
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board of directors data
Download the most recent year of board of directors data for this organization
Board chair

Jackie Buchanan

Ryan Hertz

Lighthouse MI

Richard Lewnau

Paul Plante

Jim Ciroli

Harry Maisel

Susan Wellman

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Jackie Buchanan

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Jim Lambrecht

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Jacqui Spicer

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Jonathan Burleigh

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Rachael Allen

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Susan Cooper

Dr. Chanel Hampton

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Patty Corkery

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Bryan Kieler

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James Campbell

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Scott Stewart

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Sommer Dawson

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Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 2/9/2024

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.


The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Middle Eastern/North African
Gender identity
Male, Not transgender
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

Transgender Identity

Sexual orientation

No data


No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 02/09/2024

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We disaggregate data by demographics, including race, in every policy and program measured.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.


Fiscal year ending
There are no fundraisers recorded for this organization.