Family Connection hits major milestone

Published 5:58 pm Tuesday, November 13, 2012

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

For Family Connection Executive Director Susan Johnston and the organization’s board of directors, receiving a recent accreditation marked a major milestone.

“For us, it was a personal thing,” Johnston said. “For me, I’ve always wanted Family Connection to receive some kind of accreditation.”

The Alabaster-based nonprofit organization recently received Tier 1 accreditation from the Standards of Excellence Institute, which accredits nonprofit organizations across the nation. Family Connection was the first nonprofit in Alabama to be named to the Tier 1 list.

Family Connection provides crisis prevention and intervention programs, such as safe houses, family support groups and school-based counseling, for local kids, teens and families in need.

The Standards for Excellence Institute launched its tiered accreditation program in July, which allows nonprofit organizations to “take the path toward excellence one step at a time,” according to the Alabama Association of Nonprofits.

According to the Alabama Association of Nonprofits, an organization reaches Tier 1 when it adheres “to fundamental legal and regulatory rules and essential governace practices.”

The accreditation came about after Johnston learned about the tier-based system and presented it to the Family Connection board. After gathering the required documentation and sending it to the Standards of Excellence Institute, Family Connection received its Tier 1 notice in October.

“We went through our audits, our policies, everything, and provided those documents to them,” Johnston said. “They conducted their review, and we just received our recognition recently.”

Johnston said the accreditation likely will benefit Family Connection’s future funding.

“I think you will start seeing a trend where a lot of donors will ask ‘Are you a Standards of Excellence nonprofit?’” Johnston said. “It lets them know that we are doing good work in this community.”