Lessons Learned – February Meeting


Andre Van Heerden, VP of Networking and Partnerships at Mercy Support Services (MSS), spoke about Nonprofit Community-Building and Collaboration.  MSS was the 2013 winner of the $10,000 Paul E. Reinhold Community Service Award, due in large part to its broad partnership-based impact.

MSS is a network of agencies, churches nonprofits, and for-profits that help people in crisis in Clay County.  It forms partnerships with the members within the network to initiate services that are missing within their local County, such as group homes for homeless families and a centralized clearing house where people in crisis are screened, qualified and case managed until they are self-sufficient.

As nonprofit organizations face ever-tightening resources and an increasingly complex world today, there has been a growing demand for nonprofits to partner with each other to address the needs and issues in our communities. Moreover, many foundations that offer necessary grant money either prefer or indeed require organizations to partner in order to receive their grants. Andre will speak about his personal and professional experiences with MSS, and will use the book, Community: the structure of belonging by Peter Block, as a guide.

Lessons Learned:

  • Since 2004, the MN has grown from a meeting of faith-based and service organizations, to one that boasts 2 group homes; district offices; an education center; a community mentor program; and community action teams.
  • Last year, the Mercy Network won the prestigious $10,000 Paul E Reinhold Community Service Award due, in large part, to its broad partnership-based impact.
  • Andre credits his organization’s success to having a clear vision, maintaining a strategic plan, and relentlessly measuring for impact.
  • His advice to other nonprofits:
    • develop your vision, strategic plan, and measures of success and let them guide everything you do
    • get the word out by speaking to, and networking with, businesses and the government sector
    • seek the counsel of successful nonprofit leaders

Other Announcements:

Take Stock in Children Clay County – This program is in need of 12 mentors for students around Clay County. If you or someone you know is interested in becoming a mentor please contact us at 904-272-4304. Mentors truly change lives and with your help we could positively change the life of a student right here in our community!

Mercy Network Meeting, March 20, 2014, Meeting Emphasis – Transportation Services in Clay County – What’s available & what’s still needed. 10am Salvation Army Conference Room 2795 Country Road 220 Middleburg, FL 32068

Peace and joy –