Executive Summary

Executive Summary of Safe Harbor of Grand Traverse

Safe Harbor of Grand Traverse is a Non-Profit Corporation formed in the State of Michigan. It is comprised of approximately 2,100 volunteers that are organized through a collection of 23 Churches located in the Grand Traverse region. We are an all-volunteer corporation with a three-tier management structure; Executive Board, Steering Committee and contracted Goodwill Supervisors. Each tier has its own leadership structure. This structure has been in place since 2008, with the exception of the Executive Board, which was added in 2014.

The Executive Board is comprised of 9 members and includes a Chair, Vice-Chair, Treasurer, Secretary, Fundraising Chair and 4 at-large members. The Executive Board is responsible for the operation of the building, management of the corporation and community partnerships, and the finances of the organization. Each executive may assemble a committee to assist them in their work. The committee members generally come from the Steering Committee. The executive board is nominated and elected by the steering committee and may include church representatives or community members at-large.

The steering committee is comprised of a representative from each participating church, and is responsible for the operation of the emergency shelter. Each participating church has a representative on the steering committee. Each church also has an alternate representative. The steering committee has a leadership board comprising of a Chairperson (also the Vice-Chair of the executive board), Nominating/Elections, Scheduling Manager, Supplies Manager, Secretary, Health and Safety Leader, and Training/Policy Leader.

The third tier of management is our professional staff. Safe Harbor contracts with Goodwill Industries of NW Michigan to provide a trained shelter management team. The Goodwill Supervisor has several roles during a shift (generally 5:30p – 11p): A) To control the “check in” process (including background checks and bag searches); B) To make decisions on guest behavior issues and policing of policies; C) To work in an Outreach role to help guests access services available to them (including housing and support opportunities); D) Maintain the security of the medical lock box; and E) Coordinate hourly smoke breaks.

Our “Fall/ Winter Season” is determined by the weather, but generally, we operate between November and April. The emergency shelter operates in a decentralized structure, with a host church leading on a weekly basis. Each hosting church has a coordinator and a volunteer leadership team. For example: Christmas / New Years weeks are hosted by Presbyterian Church of Traverse City. This church has a coordinator and its own roster of volunteers. Occasionally, the lead church many receive help from a supporting church. In these cases, the lead church’s coordinator is still in charge of the weekly operation. A software program, “Volunteer Spot,” is used to allow volunteers to sign up and exchange shifts 24/7. Each volunteer must complete a volunteer form that allows Goodwill’s team to perform background checks. Generally, volunteers come directly through the churches, though we accept members from the community-at-large.

Each day of operation, the shelter is broken into 5 shifts: Breakfast (usually 4 people), Evening Host (3 people), Supper (4 people), and Overnight (2 women and 2 men). There are a total of 105 individual roles in a typical week. Often, volunteers will serve in several shifts in their hosting week. The staffing may be adjusted based on the number of guests. The numbers listed above are the minimum (see our staffing grid as part of the Operations Plan). Additional volunteers may be added from the community-wide “call in” list at the discrepancy of the Goodwill Supervisor.

Training of volunteers is conducted at the facility on an on-going basis by the Goodwill team. Each church coordinator is responsible for their volunteers to complete the 3-hour training program. As policies are adjusted annually, every volunteer is required to update their training.

2020 – 2021 Executive Board Members

Mike McDonald – Chairperson
Christopher Ellalasingham – Vice Chairperson, Steering Committee Chair
Peter Starkel – Secretary / Building Chairperson
Teresa Noris – Treasurer
Susan Arnold – Kitchen Committee / Facility Committee Chair
Dan Buron – Outreach Liaison
Joshua Brandt – Communications Committee
Lynn Swan – Health Committee
George Thompson – Legal Affairs
Goodwill Street Outreach – Ryan Hannon

Other Committees

Wayne Sterenberg – Fundraising Committee

John Daniels – Training Committee

Nan Niewiadomski – Supplies Committee

Mike McDonald – Scheduling

Julie Greene – Donations


Joelle Lynn – Kitchen Coordinator

Brad Gerlach – Volunteer Manager