George has been a part of Guild since May 10th, 1991, one year after Guild Incorporated was founded as a separate non-profit organization by the Guild of Catholic Women. He began working at Guild Hall, Guild’s long-term residential mental health facility. When Guild changed its model to community support and planned to close Guild Hall residential facility and move residents into the community, George applied for and was promoted to one of the two Team Lead positions and worked with a team to help move residents into the community and provide them with mobile support.
In addition to his regular position, George volunteered to help out with development from 2005 to 2007. In 2007, George was surprised when President of Guild, Grace, asked him to be the Director of Development.
Having not had much experience in fundraising, George was unsure about moving into the position. But in time he realized that it wasn’t too different from what he had been doing throughout his career–engaging and relationship-building with people to help meet clients’ needs.
Decades of Experience
George has witnessed the growth of Guild from nearly the very beginning. He watched Guild grow from Guild Hall residential facility in Ramsey County to serving clients all around the seven-county metro area.
George sees Guild as a pioneer in the industry at the time when Guild Hall was closed. Community treatment and mobile support were new concepts that were beginning to revolutionize the mental health industry. Guild was also expanding into housing services to serve individuals who were homeless. The Youth ACT program was launched in the ’90s as well.
“I’m proud to have played a small role in the growth of the organization for almost 30 years,” says George. “The sky is the limit on the future, and how we can expand to help more people.”
Growing the Guild Community
George describes his job as “inspiring people to want to contribute to Guild.” He spreads the word about what Guild staff do, why it’s important, and why others should get involved in Guild’s mission.
“I like telling our supporters about all the hard work our staff do, how they go the extra mile, and how extraordinary they are.”
When asked what George enjoys about his job, he says, “I enjoy getting to know our supporters and building relationships. I enjoy being the one that gets to communicate to the public and community about the good work that’s being done at Guild.” He’s passionate about creating and maintaining relationships with members of the community.
George has learned a lot from his career in social work and development. When it comes to social work, George has learned not to underestimate clients’ potential. “Never underestimate the possibility of people to recover and grow,” he says. On the development side, George learned to never jump to conclusions about a person’s ability to contribute. He sees every donor and volunteer as equally important. “People give from their heart,” George says, “and that’s all that matters.”
Adapting for the Future
COVID-19 has made the Development department’s roles a little more complicated. They’ve had to get creative on how to interact with supporters. George has taken to interacting virtually, over the phone, or on socially distant walks and donor meetings wearing masks. He’s also been holding many small socially distanced get-togethers with supporters in his beautiful garden.
Fundraising events during the pandemic have had some challenges. The Bash4Guild, which was planned for last April, was moved to a digital event. This year, Guild’s Ladder of Hope fundraisers are being adapted into one virtual fundraiser that supporters and community members can join from the comfort and safety of their own home. It’s on November 19th at noon and George can’t wait to see how many people tune in to support the lifesaving work Guild is doing.
When not working, George enjoys spending time with his husband and pets, gardening, staying fit, and beekeeping. Fun fact: George has around 120,000 honeybees living in his two bee colonies!