June 01, 2022

Message of Appreciation from Kate Rubalcava

There are plenty of euphemisms about departures, new beginnings, and the bittersweet feelings about transitions. So I will refrain from all of those and simply say that I am incredibly proud of the critical work of the Utah Nonprofits Association.

This organization was born in 1990 with the sole purpose to provide education and resources to Utah’s nonprofits. Every staff member and board member at UNA since then has contributed to that purpose and all have worked tirelessly to cement our work into the fabric of our community. Because of that long and cherished history, I know that UNA will continue to thrive, evolve, and succeed for years to come.  

I came on board at UNA at a time when I could count on my hands and toes the number of leaders of color leading nonprofits in Utah. At a time when it wasn’t necessarily ok to talk about the importance of work/life balance. I remember a time when openly discussing power dynamics among staff, board, funders, community, etc. wasn’t always welcomed. And I remember when I felt the needle finally beginning to shift on those items. Undoubtedly, collectively there is a lot of work still to be done but the benefit of longevity is the ability to witness change. In honor of the witnessing of change and leading this organization through many milestones, I want to share my favorites—a highlight reel—during my time as the Chief Executive Officer of Utah Nonprofits Association.  

2016  

  • Together with board and staff, a strategic plan was developed and put in place.  
  • UNA launched its first ever end of year giving campaign.  
  • Five new funders joined UNA as supporters.  

2017  

  • UNA modified its program design of the UNA Credential to better assist participants with badge completion.  
  • UNA began to better segment its communication lists which became the birth of UNA having more user-focused communications.  
  • UNA began investing some of its financial capital in market CDs.  

2018  

  • UNA brought on a part-time staff person to assist with communications, making the team three full-time staff and one part-time staff person.  
  • UNA awarded its first UNA Credential to The Haven.  
  • UNA moved its offices to a brighter, more accessible location.  

2019  

  • UNA budged for and hired its first staff member dedicated to Advocacy and Public Policy; making the team three full-time staff and two part-time staff.  
  • Board and staff worked to develop a strategic plan that was later approved early in 2020.  
  • UNA staff began to intentionally hold space for internal conversations about race, equity, diversity, and inclusion (REDI).  
  • Organizational values were created and adopted with a REDI lens.  

2020  

  • UNA started and fully funded an Endowment.  
  • UNA switched its delivery model and began offering all programming online.  
  • UNA switched up its org chart and added another part-time staff person allowing us to have a person focused on operations and one focused on communications; making the staff total three full-time and three part-time.  
  • There is the obligatory footnote about thriving amidst a global pandemic that also belongs in this highlight reel.  

2021  

  • All minimum salaries of staff become $17 per/hour.  
  • All UNA staff become full-time employees making it possible for all to have access to benefits, raising the staff total to five amazing folks.  
  • Concepts of race, equity, diversity, and inclusion (REDI) were infused into all nine Credential courses making the Credential program a unique training platform that accentuates the value of REDI into every component of nonprofit management.  
  • Board and staff solidify a 43-point REDI Action Plan designed to make UNA a more REDI-focused organization.  

2022   

  • UNA realized that, after two years of online/remote access to programming, we are an organization whose participants are representative of state population density, with 79% of UNA participants calling the Wasatch Front home (80% of Utah’s residents call the Wasatch Front home).    
  • UNA became a permanently remote workforce. 
  • UNA established a pooled employer retirement plan, something that took years to do, and will launch in the summer 2022.   

It has been my absolute honor to lead UNA over the years. I’d like to thank each of you for your support of our work and your unwavering desire to envision stronger communities across our state. This is not farewell, I am not going far (Utah is my home and my new opportunity will keep me closely connected with Utah nonprofits), instead this is a message of appreciation. During this process of transition, I ask for your grace of the beloved and talented staff at UNA. They are the bedrock for all UNA’s accomplishments.   

Please reach out to me on LinkedIn if you’d like to stay in contact.