March 2017 Member Highlight: Kate Ekman

March 2017 Member Highlight: Kate Ekman

Q&A with Kate Ekman

Purpose & Engagement Coordinator, Beach Cities Health District


Where are you currently working and how long have you been managing volunteers?

I’ve been managing volunteers since I was at university, where I became president of our campus environmental club. We did a lot of great projects including creating a lasting legacy by doing native-species tree plantings. I also lead the Chicago chapter of a national coalition of LGBTQ volunteers called Pride at Work, and we were a part of the push to pass marriage equality legislatively in Illinois, before the Supreme Court struck down DOMA and made marriage equality the law of the land. I’m now fortunate to manage a volunteer program full time as Purpose & Engagement Coordinator at Beach Cities Health District. Our organization is focused on the health and wellness of the community and we do lots of great things from teaching kids about mindfulness to helping older adults maintain independence in their homes. I also like to volunteer. Most recently, I got some coworkers together and we painted curbs in Kenneth Hahn State Park on Martin Luther King Jr Day of Service.

How were you introduced to DOVIA-LA and what do you enjoy about the group?

I was introduced to DOVIA by Past President Megan Vixie, who is the Director of Volunteer Services/Human Resources at Beach Cities Health District. I like coming to DOVIA meetings because it helps me understand volunteer management in a broader sense from my peers. I feel it helps synthesize that what we’re doing at BCHD is on the right track.

Do you have any tips for volunteer managers?

I make lists. Putting it down on paper helps me feel like I don’t have to keep track of it all in my head. This is not a failsafe plan but it’s the one best thing I know. When the work is tough or overwhelming, I try to chat with volunteers. It might seem counterintuitive since there’s a lot on our plates as volunteer managers, but they’re wonderful to talk to and it connects me to what is important about what we do.

Do you have any hobbies that help you maintain work/life balance?

I moved to California from the Midwest and I love living here since it affords me the ability to explore and enjoy the outdoors year-round. I try to go hiking every weekend and am always thinking about the next backpacking trip. The quiet and stillness I seek on my hikes really helps me. It’s my church.

DOVIA-LA 2015 Excellence in Volunteer Leadership Award

DOVIA-LA 2015 Excellence in Volunteer Leadership Award


Thank you for your interest in applying for the DOVIA-LA Excellence in Volunteer Leadership Award.

DOVIA-LA prides itself on providing quality professional development opportunities for volunteer managers throughout Los Angeles County. This award is designed to showcase one organization’s volunteer program that excels at all levels; those that leverage organizational support, push boundaries, do great work, and create broad impact.


The organization selected for this award will be honored at the DOVIA-LA Annual Education Day on September 18, 2015 with an award and $250 towards their volunteer program. This organization will also be featured on the DOVIA-
LA website and through other social media outlets.


Eligible applicants must be organizations with DOVIA-LA membership in good standing.


A complete application includes two components:

1. A brief narrative application, which includes answering the following questions:

• Please provide an overview of this organization’s volunteer program (e.g., number of years the volunteer program has been established, staff responsible for volunteer services department, number of volunteers, number of service hours provided within the last year, types of volunteer programs offered, constituency the volunteers serve).

• Why is this organization’s volunteer program an example of excellence in volunteer leadership?

• What impact has been made to this organization or the community it serves as a result of this

• Describe how this organization’s leadership (e.g., board of directors, CEO or Executive Director, Department Heads) have supported or enhanced the volunteer program’s ability in meeting the mission and vision of this agency.

• Identify one priority initiative involving volunteers this organization implemented within the last year.

• Describe that initiative and tell us how the organization’s leadership played a key role in development and/or implementation of this initiative

2. A letter of support from a senior staff member or CEO of the organization.


Please submit both the question responses and the letter of support by email to The deadline to submit both components of the application is August 28th, 2015. The DOVIA-LA Board of Directors will review all applications and select award recipient. Applicants will be notified the following week.

For any questions or concerns regarding scholarship requirements or deadlines, please contact Charlie Rubin, DOVIA-LA Vice President at

Increase Volunteer Participation With L.A. Works

Increase Volunteer Participation With L.A. Works

Are you looking for great volunteers? L.A. Works wants to partner with you!

LA Works 2

Founded in 1991 as a 501(c)3, L.A. Works INCREASES volunteer participation throughout greater Los Angeles, PROVIDES nonprofit partners with access to labor and EDUCATES about broader social issues.


Community Connections, our powerful online recruiting tool, allows you to mobilize support by tapping into our 25,000 volunteer base free of charge. From skill-based roles to large one-day events, find the brains and brawn you need.:

Managed Projects are long-term volunteer programs created by L.A. Works in collaboration with your organization. From youth literacy to senior care, each customizable project is assigned a leader, handpicked and trained by us, who supervises at your facility:

RSVP is for volunteers age 55+ wanting to share their life experience with the community. Federally funded by Senior Corps, the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program matches energetic adults with your areas of need, from helping veterans to animal rehabilitation:


BusinessWorks are hands-on beautification projects such as mural painting and LA Works 2building garden beds customized for a company’s employees — with you as the beneficiary. We provide the planning and resources; you provide the need:

Signature Days of Service are five-annual, large-scale commemorative events such as Martin Luther King, Jr. and Cesar Chavez Day. Thousands of community and corporate volunteers unite for a transformative day of painting and landscaping of your school or facility:

ProBono recruits experts in finance, marketing, human resources and more and pairs them with nonprofits in need of consulting. These volunteers commit to your organization for up to three months for a rewarding experience both personal and professional.


AmeriCorps VISTA coaches you free of charge on how to build a volunteer workforce, utilize its talents and inspire future commitment. Training is adapted to your needs with a focus on education, economic development and/or food sustainability:

Service Enterprise, a national certification program, teaches you how to maximize your volunteer base across all levels. This four-session bootcamp offers constructive feedback and real-world training to help achieve your social mission:

To become an L.A. Works partner, visit

DOVIA-LA 2015 Member Highlight

DOVIA-LA 2015 Member Highlight
Q & A with Gwen Hourihan; Coordinator of Volunteer and Community Programs
 Union Station Homeless Services

Gwen photo

Q: Where are you currently working and how long have you been managing volunteers?

A: I am the Coordinator of Volunteer Services and Community Programs at Union Station Homeless Services in Pasadena.  I celebrated my one year anniversary in March 2015 but started as a temp over a year and a half ago.  Prior to USHS I managed volunteers under my title as event manager for over ten years.  My main responsibilities include helping manage volunteer placement, supervision and communication with approximately 3,000 volunteers, including over 200 regular volunteers and over 60 regular groups in our seven facilities.

Q: How were you introduced to DOVIA-LA and what do you enjoy about the group?

A: I was introduced to DOVIA by my supervisor at Union Station.  I was thrilled that such a resource exists.  DOVIA provided me the opportunity to meet and discuss volunteer administration with other professionals in the field.

Q: What’s a memorable volunteer story?

A: One of the many memorable stories is of a woman who works in our Adult Center emergency shelter helping the Security Team at the front desk.   She let us know that her first day was so emotional she cried because of the many struggling community members she saw that day.  She reached out to us, we discussed her understanding of the position, and she is now volunteering three days a week at that facility!  It was very touching that she was so moved by the people we serve and the care that our staff shows the community members in need.

Q: You are in the process of receiving your CVA, how has it been going?

A: The CCVA is fantastic at communicating information on the CVA process.  I really appreciate their dedication to advancing the position of volunteer administrator and am excited to take the test and complete the practical application process.  I appreciate the opportunity to further my knowledge and education in this area.

Q: Do you have any tips for volunteer managers??

A: We believe in quick responses to all inquiries in our department and I see its value as a sign of respect while putting our best selves forward.  I also hold two aspects of my job as crucial: safety and ethics.  Maintaining a positive attitude/positive department helps our organization’s reputation as one that values people who take time out of their lives to help us.

Q:  Do you have any hobbies that help you maintain work/life balance?
A: My number one hobby is spending time with family and friends.  That time includes walking our dogs, going to the theater and movies, and gardening.  Gardening I usually end up doing alone which is just fine as I also enjoy my “solo down time.”

What Do Volunteers Want?

What Do Volunteers Want?

We will be unlocking the mystery of volunteer retention at the DOVIA-LA general meeting on Friday, May 15th. offers ten tips to keep volunteers satisfied. What do you have to add to this list?

Key Differences Between For-Profits and Not-for-Profits

Key Differences Between For-Profits and Not-for-Profits

Corporate social responsibility intersects with volunteering when a for-profit company encourages its employees to volunteer in the community, whether on company time or on the employees’ personal time – and whether in a pro bono capacity sharing the skills with which they earn a living or pursuing outside interests. And business people are fantastic resources. But sometimes, as former head of General Electric’s employee volunteer program, David Warshaw, says, “Businesses are from Mars; Nonprofits are from Venus.” Read More »


Photo Credit: Pasadena Now- Fran Scoble and Judy GainThe Pasadena Community Foundation is a small but growing community foundation that serves the greater Pasadena area. We help donors set up charitable funds such as endowments, family foundation funds, memorial funds, scholarships, etc. and we raise funds to generate support for our local grant making programs. The new Marketing and Development Associate will be the fifth member of a team that reports to a 17 member Board. Read More »

Open Volunteer Management Position at Special Olympics

Open Volunteer Management Position at Special Olympics



SUMMARY: The Director, Volunteers is responsible for developing and implementing a
comprehensive volunteer management program throughout SOSC for all divisions and oversees all
volunteer service functions of the organization, from identification of volunteer needs fulfillment, to
retention and recognition programs, including oversight of volunteer management software system.

More information can be found at:

Free Computer Network for a Nonprofit

If you can use a computer network (2 servers, Firewall, Switch, 3 XP Tower computers, and little extras), please contact Melanie at or 626-319-6466.

Financial Red Flags

Financial Red Flags

For many foundations and individuals considering making a donation to your organization, one of the first things they look at are your financials. Are you aware of the warning signs that make your organization look like a bad investment? Come join your colleagues at the Pasadena Executive Roundtable to discuss Audits & Financial Red Flags.

Mark your calendar for next week, Wednesday, February 6, 2013 at 8:30 a.m. in the Flintridge Retreat Center, suite 118.

Sue Kujawa, Executive Director of the Pasadena Village will share her experiences and facilitate a discussion about keeping your financial house in order.

To join the Pasadena Executive Roundtable, fill out the attached form or contact Lisa Wilson at the Flintridge Center,

Executive Roundtable