CARITAS OF AUSTIN
"A joy to work with..."
Monsignor Richard McCabe founded Caritas of Austin in 1964 with the belief that all people in the Texas capital region deserve to have their basic needs met. Over the past five decades, Caritas (the word means “love” or “charity” in Latin) has been operating independent of any religious affiliation but has been generously supported by all faith groups in its mission to prevent and end homelessness for people in Greater Austin. Caritas believes that when every person has a stable place to call home, they can realize their full potential and contribute to their community. The organization builds wellbeing by engaging the community to work together to make sure that people have a safe home, access to healthy groceries, jobs that provide a reliable living wage, and educational opportunities to learn life skills.
When the Caritas finance and accounting team was rocked with what President & CEO Jo Kathryn Quinn called “head-spinning” staff changes brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, she was apprehensive about bringing in a third party to help manage the organization’s complex financial affairs. But after hearing rave reviews about YPTC’s work with a homeless coalition in Houston, Quinn had the confidence to move forward. Once YPTC explained what they could do, Quinn was convinced. “It was the icing on the cake,” she recalls.
YPTC Associate Liz Forrest stepped in during this intense time of transition and disruption to serve as the interim CFO. “I can’t say enough about her professionalism; she’s the consummate professional,” Quinn says. “I love the fact that I have this one person to liaise with and that she manages everything behind the scenes. It makes it really easy for me as the CEO that I can trust her and that everything on the back side is getting done.
“YPTC came in and in a short time stabilized our accounting and finance departments. I don’t know how they do it but it’s really amazing and I have a lot of respect for it,” she adds.
“The greatest gift they have given us is the gift of time and space for us to execute a deliberate and thoughtful process as we search for a full-time, in-house CFO,” she says, describing the size, culture and nature of Caritas’ work as necessitating having somebody on-site all the time. “Our work is so intense, literally dealing with life-and-death issues with our clients, and that bubbles up through the organization.” But Quinn envisions that even when a full-time CFO is brought on board, there may still be a place for YPTC to continue working with Caritas.
“It’s been wonderful,” she says. “It’s a joy to work with the YPTC team.”