Tara McLain Manthey, of the Osage Nation, is the Executive Director of the Denver Indian Family Resource Center and was previously the Senior Vice President of the Colorado Children’s Campaign.
How did the opportunity to become the Executive Director of the Denver Indian Family Resource Center cross your path?
I was previously serving on the board and moved to Executive Director in September 2020 after the former Executive Director retired.
What about DIFRC’s work or the prospect of taking on the role of Executive Director was exciting to you?
The work of the organization is very important to continuing Native American culture and sovereignty, and I wanted to be involved in a deeper way. Leading a team of really committed and caring individuals has been an incredible experience so far.
How would you describe the specific challenge DIFRC was facing? And how did you hope the SVP Denver Partners could help meet that need?
DIFRC currently contracts with an off-site accountant to manage our banking accounts, billing and some HR functions like payroll. However, we do not have the expertise on staff needed to build an internal financial management system that is efficient and complies with regulations and requirements. Establishing a stronger financial management system in the short term would help me, as the new Executive Director, spend more of my time on supporting our programming as well as fundraising and other priorities. In the next 3-5 years, having a stronger financial system in place would save costs and position the organization to implement a new strategic plan focused on preventative services for native families in the Denver Metro area.
What was your experience like working with the SVP Denver Partners?
The SVP Denver Partners were so thoughtful, flexible and knowledgeable. They approached our organization and work with humility and curiosity. They provided significant time, advice and expertise that we would not have been able to access due to our size and the capacity of leadership.
Did you feel the collaboration was able to meet its goals?
Yes, we developed an investment policy and revised our financial procedural policy. Both are now reflective of our workflow and best practices so we can comply with regulations and requirements while being more efficient. Both revised policies will help ensure DIFRC is a careful custodian of our finances.
How will the work completed over these past six months potentially impact DIFRC’s future?
With the guidance from the SVP Denver volunteers, we will now hire an investment advisor to help us carefully invest some of our cash on hand to build more assets for the organization and our work. Our new financial procedures are more streamlined, clear and consistent. Both are strong foundations as our organization seeks to grow staffing and services to help families recover from the pandemic.
Would you have any words of advice for SVP Denver as we consider similar collaborations in the future?
The whole process was so supportive and thoughtful. I was worried that it would take too much time or that DIFRC staff would be tasked with a lot of work outside of meetings. But, the consistent communication and flexible timeline allowed work to continue on schedule while allowing for individual needs and work to be attended to.
Is there anything else you would like to share about your experience collaborating with SVP Denver?
We are very grateful for the partnership and look forward to continuing our friendship with our volunteers. They are part of our family now!