Monday, December 27, 2010

The SoupMan, Executive Director of the Year???

Hello, my name is Lon Ricker and I’m the Director of Development at the SoupMobile. That’s just a fancy title for saying that I do everything I can to raise the money to support what often seems like outrageous ideas of the SoupMan. It also means that I have passwords to, among other things, his blog site, and today I decided to “take over” and talk about him, the SoupMan (a.k.a., David Timothy).

When I transitioned from stirring spaghetti on Wednesdays to writing grants and other fundraising activities (such as the Celebrate Jesus Christmas event), a few of the other “office workers” quietly lobbied me to “fix” the SoupMan. “He uses too many exclamation points” and “Sometimes he doesn’t use the correct grammar” and “You CAN’T buy personalized license plates for a vehicle you don’t even own yet!” were some of the things that people tried to convince me needed to be fixed. To say the SoupMan is unconventional is a bit of an understatement. (I mean, how many people have the nerve to put a One Million Dollar button on the Donation page of their website?

Face it, David became the Executive Director of the SoupMobile because he STARTED the SoupMobile. Its not because he has a wall full of degrees and credentials. And its not because he had experience running mega-bagillion dollar capital campaigns. And its not even because he climbed the ladder of leadership at other nonprofits. No, its because God put into his heart to feed and shelter the homeless and he’s darn good at it.

You see, when the SoupMan gets an idea of how to help the ones Jesus called the ‘least of these’, he not only throws conventional wisdom aside, but he pretty much ignores it. Don’t get me wrong, he is NOT some loose cannon running around doing crazy things with no thought given. Rather he doesn’t know the word ‘impossible’ and he won’t accept the attitude of “but you’ve never done it before” as reason for not doing it anyway. Like the bumblebee that aerodynamically should not be able to fly, David accomplishes all that he does because “no one told him he can’t fly”.

SoupMobile Village is just one example of people trying to convince David that he should “stick with what he knows best (feeding)” and leave housing the homeless to those with experience. Well, in less than a year we have 3 (THREE!) SoupMobile Village homes up and running and just received notice that funding is on the way for the FOURTH! Ummm, Mr. BumbleBee….ah, never mind you’re already working on SoupMobile Diner.

I can tell you this, I’ve actually had grant requests denied because we don’t follow ALL of the conventions for a “normal” nonprofit agency. It drives me crazy because some of these large foundations look more at “structure” than they do at what we are actually accomplishing. They don’t seem to take notice that nearly 80 cents of every dollar donated goes directly to our mission to “Feed HIS Sheep”. They seem to ignore the fact that for the 7 years that David has been the Executive Director of the SoupMobile, his salary has averaged less than $13,000 per year! (Come to think of it, maybe he’s the Executive Director because no one else WANTS the job.)

Well folks, I’m happy to tell you that has all changed! That’s right; David is not the Executive Director of the SoupMobile because of his credentials. He’s the Executive Director of this growing agency because he is good at it! Because he has a passion for it!!! And BECAUSE of what he has accomplished with his unconventional ways!!!!! (Exclamation points and all!)

And at their 10th Anniversary Night of Light ceremony, the Center for Nonprofit Management crowned The SoupMan as Executive Director of the Year!!!

And in true SoupMan style, when they made the announcement, and cranked up the Rocky Theme Song, he RAN up to the stage with the enthusiasm and spirit of a man that doesn’t live by conventional wisdom. His ‘style’ of shaping and growing the SoupMobile into what it has become today was affirmed on that night. You don’t have to sit behind a big mahogany desk (we occasionally move the mop bucket out of his office if he’s expecting a guest) or follow some “Roberts Rules of Order” to be acknowledged for the work you are doing. David will often say “if you are doing God’s work, He will help you accomplish it”.

Well, I should probably turn the password to his blog back over to him, but I thought you should know that this unconventional, even a bit quirky man that we know as the "SoupMan" has finally been recognized and validated by his peers. As for me, I’m just proud to call him Friend.

God bless,


1 comment:

  1. Congratulations!!!! Job well done! Blog well said!