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Annual Report

Letter from our Chair

Robert A. Woosley

For the Capital Area CASA, 2022 brought challenges - some continued, some new. It also brought tremendous changes. When faced with challenges, you can hide from them or face them. OUR CASA chose to face these new challenges head on. I believe

we are now a stronger, more adaptable organization ready to face the new non-profit landscape and continue to meet the needs of the at-risk children that we serve. We also embraced the changes that inevitably came with these adversities. In 2022, all of the pre-pandemic challenges, namely fundraising, staffing, and attracting volunteers, had intensified for CASA and other non-profit organizations. For CASA, we continued to see a decrease in funding from long-time sources and volunteer numbers have continued to shrink. In addition, we have seen an increase in the list of children entering the foster care system. These are not new issues, but a

continuation of trends that were emerging prior to the pandemic and accelerated since the start of the global pandemic.

How do you meet your goals with less resources at your disposal? Not a new issue, nor one that is specific to our organization. We fought these issues by leaning on our people. Our current volunteers and advocate staff stepped up and were able to help

with the increased cases – they are heroes to the children that we serve.

Our executive team rolled up their sleeves and beat the streets to find new volunteers and grants, and our board met and exceeded their fundraising goals to offset loss of funding from long-time sources. I’m proud of these people individually and collectively. I’m constantly reminded that the strength of any organization is its people. In addition, we faced a new challenge. As the 2021 Board Chairman, I knew that another concern was lurking and would be presenting itself to the organization. It was one that our CASA had not been faced with in more than 30 years. We were going to need new leadership. Our Executive Director (ED), Liz Betz, had made the decision it was time to start the next chapter of her life and move into retirement. Liz has been the executive director since the beginning of Capital Area CASA in 1992. SO, being

the planner that I am, Liz and I started conversations in 2021 about how we should proceed in 2022.


Our first goal was to construct a board that had special knowledge of CASA, its mission, and its needs. We wanted stability, so we asked several long-time board members to stay for another year. Thanks Roy Hebert!!! We also asked one very important board member, Steve Strohschein, to rejoin the board.Steve was part of the group that originally hired Liz three decades ago.

Once our team was in place, the entire board contributed to the process of attracting, screening, and hiring our next Executive Director. We went through lots of screening and interviews to arrive at our selection. I remember commenting that CASA had

become my job. I was in the building multiple times a week during this process to sit in on the interviews, be part of the transition process and to continue the normal work of the CASA board, which is primarily focused on our CASA Fiesta.

By May of 2022, we had identified our next Executive Director, Allison Traxler. Now, we had two EDs. The summer of 2022 was a whirlwind of activity. We had the 2022 Fiesta in July that was critical to our fundraising goals as an organization, Liz’s retirement date was set for the end of August, and we wanted Allison to be able to transition into her new role quickly as the planning for 2023 started immediately. Each of these challenges caused impactful changes for CASA and provided tremendous anxiety for me personally as the decisions that we were making would determine the success of CASA and its ability to serve our children. But, these

challenges, decisions and changes brought something else – excitement.Christmas morning, opening your present excitement. There was a resurgence of energy within the building as we look to what can be. As I reflect back to my work with Liz over the

last a decade, the transitional period that 2022 was, and the new beginnings that started at the end of 2022, I’m also filled with gratitude and a sense of a job well-done. I will always be appreciative of this group of people for what we were able to

accomplish in 2022. AND to finish, I would like to tell all of them – THANK YOU!!!


Robert Woosley

2022 Board Chair

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