DODD Clarification on Background Investigations for Employment

The Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities provides clarification on the applicability of background checks to non-profit corporations who contract with County Boards of DD to provide housing to individuals served by the County Board.

Specialized Features and Technology

In the last couple of years, DHN has recruited people with experience using technology and other innovations to support people with disabilities in their homes.  First up, the team from North Coast Community Homes with a pair of presentations focused on special accommodations.

At the December 2010 DHN/OACB conference, Greg Wellems of Imagine! came from Boulder Colorado to present on the SMART Homes being developed there.  He then made a second presentation on remote monitoring technology.

Succession Planning

Succession Planning is one of those things that everybody recognizes they need to do, but hardly anyone ever gets around to.  DHN member Fran Wesseling, Executive Director of the Foundation for the Challenged, knows how important it is.  That’s why she has recruited presenters on the subject for each of the last two Ohio Provider Resource Association conferences.  (Fran and FFC sponsor a business development track.)  DHN Technical Assistance Consultant Cathy Allen attended the 2011 presentation and provides her notes below.  The 2012 presentation by Human Resources and Organizational Development Consultant Debbie Bowden is also below.


DHN member corporations are finding it increasingly necessary to learn about alternative methods of bringing in the resources needed to keep their housing stock well-maintained, while simultaneously keeping rents affordable. Presenters at recent DHN conferences have addressed this topic directly.  First, Steve McPeake, Executive Director of North Coast Community Homes, discussed how NCCH transformed itself into a fundraising organization, and what strategies they are currently pursuing.

Also at the Spring 2011 OPRA conference, veteran grantwriter Don Slobodien provided audience members an overview of the do’s and don’ts of writing grant proposals, including how to know what grants to seek and how best to position your organization for success.

Executive Compensation

Executive compensation is always a hot button issue, where information about comparable rates can be hard to find.  Guidestar publishes an annual survey of nonprofit pay practices.  Their 2011 report is below.

In addition, the Center for Nonprofit Resources (C4NPR) collected data from more than 400 nonprofits in the Toledo/NW Ohio area and published their findings.  The summary report is one page long.  The entire report is 74 pages!

Conflict of Interest Policy

As part of their board governance best practice recommendations, the IRS suggests that all nonprofit boards adopt and adhere to a conflict of interest policy.  This helps ensure that all board members are aware of and can avoid potential conflicts of interest as they perform their fiduciary responsibilities for the organization.  Below are examples of housing corporation conflict of interest policy documents, along with board member disclosure forms.  Also below are generic samples of both.  More such samples can be found at

Stakeholder Assessment/Environmental Scan

DHN recommends that organizations seek input from internal and external stakeholders as part of their regular planning processes.  Individual board members, staff, tenants and other customers, organizational partners, neighbors, funders, and community leaders all have a stake in the organization’s success.  All have information about the context in which the organization operates and will have thoughts about its strengths and weaknesses, service gaps, and what long-term or short-term goals should exist.  Once such information is gathered, board and staff can use it to adjust their mission, inform their planning, and develop strategic goals.

Since Technical Assistance Consulting became available through the Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council grant to DHN in late 2010, a number of housing corporations have taken advantage of the opportunity to have free strategic planning facilitation.  Technical Assistance Consultant Cathy Allen has conducted two in-depth stakeholder assessments for housing corporations, and thanks them for allowing their reports to be posted here as examples to others of the kind of information that can be developed and made available to the planning group.

Click on the file below to download an article by Cathy Allen about the importance of stakeholders assessments and differences among feedback mechanisms.

DHN itself uses member input to develop its plans for conferences, workshops, webinars, and regional meetings.  Member surveys going back to 2008 can be found on the Research tab of this website.

Mission Statements

There are four questions on DHN’s Self-Assessment Tool relating to the organization’s mission statement, an indication of how important it is to the group’s development and capacity.  Mission statements can be broad or narrow, define constituencies or geographic area, and bring clarity to an organization’s unique role or reason to exist.  Removing the term “developmental disabilities,” for example, can indicate that an organization now wishes to serve other populations, whereas inserting a term like “accessible” or “integrated” provides critical information about the organization’s values and priorities.  Mission statements serve to keep board, staff, and stakeholders focused on the organization’s key purpose and function.

Here are some mission statements of housing corporations around Ohio:

Coshocton Community Housing exists to provide quality, accessible, and affordable housing options that facilitate independent living for persons with disabilities.

Fairfield Affordable Housing: To provide affordable housing opportunities to special populations in Fairfield County.

Foundation for the Challenged: To ensure people with developmental disabilities experience a more purposeful quality of life by providing charitable support and affordable, community-based housing.

HHWP Community Action Program: To advocate on behalf of and provide direct services to the low income residents of our service area.

Licking County Coalition for the Homeless: To provide a community forum, to assess housing resources, to identify problems, and to create solutions through collaboration.

Maple Leaf Community Residences: To provide quality, safe, affordable housing to people with disabilities.

The mission of Medina Creative Housing, Inc. is to promote the development, and ongoing management of permanent, affordable housing and quality services for persons with disabilities living in Medina County.

Murray Ridge Housing Corporation: To provide lifetime affordable living to people in Lorain County, with an emphasis on serving citizens with mental retardation and developmental disabilities.

North Coast Community Homes: Develop and maintain safe, comfortable community housing of high quality for individuals with mental retardation, mental illness, and other disabilities.

Ottawa Residential Services: To provide housing or housing solutions for people with disabilities in Ottawa County.

Preferred Properties: To create affordable and accessible housing through consulting, development, and management of housing for persons with disabilities and others in need that will facilitate their choice of community.

Summit Housing Development Corporation: To develop and maintain safe and appropriate housing in an integrated setting for individuals with mental retardation and/or other disabilities.

Below is a document with the mission statements for all of Ohio’s county boards of developmental disabilities, where a mission statement could be found via internet search. DHN will happily update this document as mission statements are provided to us.