Heroes: Executive of the Year
When Lisa Sauder arrived at Bean's Café Inc. in 2013, the nonprofit had its hands full. In addition to providing Anchorage, Alaska's homeless population with shelter, small necessities, social services and 800 meals a day, Bean's Café was offering a second program, The Children's Lunchbox, preparing, packaging and delivering 350,000 meals a year to dozens of community programs for kids.
Many organizations would be happy with that output, and why not? Bean's Café was putting a major dent in two of Anchorage's biggest social issues—homelessness and child nutrition. For Sauder, it wasn't enough.
She wanted to do more.
So she set about expanding Bean's Café's Just a Little Extra weekend food program, adding two schools and bringing the total number of schools served to seven. She saved and raised funds for the new sites—each requiring roughly $40,000 a year in funding—and helped to more than double the program's output from 1,200 bags of weekend meals a year to 3,000. She also sought and received funding to create a conference room at Bean's Café's offices, allowing the organization to offer group counseling and other community services, and facilitating partnerships with other social services organizations.
Sauder could have stopped there. Instead, she set her sights on an even more ambitious goal—a capital campaign. She worked closely with Bean's Café's board of directors, key staff members and community supporters to purchase a new building that will house The Children's Lunchbox and administrative offices. Once renovated, the building will increase kitchen and storage space for the program and allow it to increase efficiency and sustainability, and to serve more children and adults in need.
The goal of the capital campaign? $1.5 million. For most 35-employee organizations, that would be daunting. But not for Bean's Café. It has Lisa Sauder.
"Put simply, Lisa Sauder thinks big," said Lauren Nelson, marketing/outreach officer for Bean's Café. "Her imagination is endless and she refuses to let fear of failure hold her back from great success. In less than two years, Lisa has completely transformed our organization from disjointed to cohesive, cooperative community of individuals dedicated to both our mission and her leadership."
Related story: Heroes: Announcing the Winners of the 2015 Nonprofit Professionals of the Year Awards