Human Services

WESTERN COMMUNITIES ACTION NETWORK INC

aka WeCAN

Mound, MN

Mission

WeCAN is a community nonprofit that empowers and equips individuals and families to reach stability and self-sufficiency.

Ruling Year

1986

Executive Director

Christopher Anderson

Main Address

5213 Shoreline Drive

Mound, MN 55364 USA

Keywords

Western Hennepin County

EIN

41-1466409

 Number

0734627853

Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Human Service Organizations (P20)

Employment Training (J22)

IRS Filing Requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Programs + Results

What we aim to solve

WeCAN was founded in 1989 to address the lack of social service programs for low-income families in Western Hennepin County. From emergency assistance to food support to helping our clients with job skills, WeCAN is in existence to help, support and inspire.

Our programs

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

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Jobs Program

Meals-On-Wheels

Family Support Programs

Housing Advocacy

Where we work

Charting Impact

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

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What is the organization aiming to accomplish?

What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?

What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?

How will they know if they are making progress?

What have they accomplished so far and what's next?

WeCAN's mission is to empower and equip individuals and families to reach stability and self-sufficiency. Our vision is that children, individuals and families will thrive in a vibrant community with access to resources and support services.

Many of our clients have multiple barriers, such as transportation, childcare, and are sometimes juggling multiple jobs. A high number of clients also struggle with mental health issues and can become easily overwhelmed with layers of bureaucracy, complicated forms, and being sent to multiple agencies. Bus service extends to only 3 out of 12 service area cities and no other public transit is available. A significant number of the population commute to more populated areas towards the metro area for employment, increasing their transportation and daycare costs.

Our goals are to connect those in need to emergency resources that address immediate needs, to family resources and counseling that promote stability, and to provide employment and education support designed to develop self-sufficiency. We also work with our clients to develop their own solutions and when necessary, refer them to additional services throughout our service area.

WeCAN offers multiple social services, many in partnership with agencies housed in the WeCAN facility in Mound, MN. The intentional array of services under one roof is designed to address immediate needs and emergencies, and to provide support that will contribute to stabilization and self-sufficiency. Access to multiple services at the same time and under the same roof greatly increases the likelihood of clients following through with referrals and receiving the help they truly need. The Urban Institute reports that “Research supports the effectiveness of providing services in a coordinated manner to address the multiple needs of those in poverty and move them toward stability and self-sufficiency." (Urban Institute, 2011). We also see first-hand that clients feel more comfortable when we can make a personal hand off available and continue to communicate and advocate on their behalf if needed. Initially clients meet with our Family Advocate who works with them to create an Individualized Work Plan. The WeCAN Family Advocate helps the client focus and encourages him or her to plan three steps to take towards stabilization. For instance, a client may have lost his job and can't pay rent. Step one would be to meet with Hennepin County financial services to see if he qualifies for financial support. If not, WeCAN can step in with a one-time grant for rent assistance. Step two might be to access personal care products offered to help stretch the family's budget, with step three being to meet with the WeCAN Career Initiatives Counselor to discuss job opportunities.

a) We will continue to build and nurture our partnerships with community organizations, school districts, social service agencies, the faith community, community members, and businesses to enlist resources, fill service gaps, and stay up-to-date with emerging trends and needs.

b) The agency is expanding into a vacant space within our complex (next door) in order to better accommodate our site-based client resources (food, toys, outerwear, blankets, school supplies) and to increase efficiencies for our staff and meeting/counseling spaces. Remodel for this space will begin in May 2017.

c) Staff will develop additional tools for assessing our programs including pre- and post-surveys in order to measure the impact our support is having on the stability and self-sufficiency of our clients.

d) Executive staff and board members are focused on building an agency operational (business) model that ensures adequate investment of both public and private resources and allows for the creation of reserve funds to sustain and fulfill our mission, especially considering the current political climate. Our goals is to have a reserve fund of $239,850 (6 months of operating expenses).

The WeCAN Family Advocate does a three-month follow-up with each client receiving financial aid. Staff and volunteers are responsible for administering evaluative tools and keeping proper records to ensure our evaluation efforts are consistent and reliable. We also value the feedback of our community partners and community members. Our results will be used by staff and board members to maintain a learning environment as we assess our strengths and weaknesses and identify opportunities for change. We will also share results with the broader community through print media, our website, social media, monthly e-newsletter and our annual report.

WeCAN measures our success through both qualitative and quantitative tools in the evaluation process. Quantitative methods include records analysis, attendance data and program completion records. Qualitative methods include verbal feedback and documented observations by staff. We currently survey our clients who receive Emergency Services and will be expanding these surveys to additional programs in 2017.

WeCAN is the only social service organization providing a comprehensive array of programs and services in one location designed to regain and retain stability for families and individuals in our service area. While we are proud of the progress we've made, there is always more work to be done. We look forward to expanding our facility, thereby increasing our capacity both in number of people served and in the comprehensive slate of services we are able to offer.

External Reviews

Financials

WESTERN COMMUNITIES ACTION NETWORK INC

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Operations

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

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FREE: Gain immediate access to the following:

  • Address, phone, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2019, 2018 and 2017
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Board Leadership Practices

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section, which enables organizations and donors to transparently share information about essential board leadership practices.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

BOARD ORIENTATION & 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?

No

CEO OVERSIGHT

Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?

No

ETHICS & TRANSPARENCY

Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?

No

BOARD COMPOSITION

Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?

No

BOARD PERFORMANCE

Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?

No