Why Not-for-Profits Need
CPA Board Members
By Kirsten Piechota, Managing Editor
Connecticut Community Care, Inc.
(CCCI) was instrumental in helping
AnneBurns when she needed to
find the best way to care for her aging
mother. The Bristol-based not-for-prof-
it provides "services to help people of
all ages, abilities, and incomes to live
at home" across Connecticut.
"I thought it was a wonderful organiza-
tion," Burns said. "I value the work that
it does, and I told them to let me know
if there was anything I could do to
help." Burns was first asked to speak
at a CCCI legislative breakfast, serving
as the voice of both a family caregiver
who had been helped by the organiza-
tion and a CPA who understood and
could explain the financial benefits of
in-home care for the aging.
In 2007, she joined the group's board
of directors, first as a general member
and later as a member of the funds
development and finance committees.
For Burns, who is the CFO of New Sa-
maritan Corporation and Elderly Hous-
ing Management, Inc., it was a natu-
ral way for her to reach out and help.
"CPAs are in a unique position in that
we are able to talk about the human
side of an organization's mission, but
we also understand the financial side
of things and feel a fiduciary responsi-
bility to ask the hard questions."
Molly Rees Gavin
said that input from board members
with strong financial backgrounds is
vital to her organization's success.
"We're a not-for-profit, but if you don't
have the resources to support your or-
ganization, nothing else matters," she
said. "No margin, no mission."
Gavin says a CPA board member's time
commitment can vary widely based
on the size and type of organization,
where the organization is in its life cycle
(startups might require more hands-on
board members), and the sophistica-
tion of the organization's management.
Burns' advice to CPAs looking for the
right place to volunteer their time and
talents? "As with any business oppor-
tunity, do your homework."
There is a strong demand for new
CPA board members at Connecticut
not-for-profits, Gavin said. New board
members have a fresh perspective on
issues a not-for-profit might be facing.
"Often it's a new person who will ask
`what about this?'" she explained.
New and young professionals are espe-
cially in demand. "There's a real need
for board succession planning," Gavin
said, noting that many boards are
struggling with aging demographics.
Getting new professionals involved
not only helps the not-for-profit; "It
can be a real resume builder," Gavin
said. Board meetings give members
a chance to meet colleagues and po-
tential clients, and expand their knowl-
edge and experience by learning about
the inner workings of the organization.
Visit www.ctcpas.org/nfpboards to find
a not-for-profit that needs your help.
CTCPA member Anne Burns (left) meets with Connecticut Community Care, Inc. (CCCI) President
Molly Rees Gavin following a recent CCCI board meeting.
Portrait of a Volunteer