Society of St. Vincent de Paul-Indianapolis Archdiocesan Council, Inc.

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Council and Conferences Collaborate to Meet Community Needs

With Vincentians spread across central and southern Indiana, SVdP Indianapolis Archdiocesan Council impacts many lives simultaneously as we serve those in need. We do this through one-to-one service, with one volunteer or donor helping one individual in need. This personal touch is replicated throughout the Council, allowing us to make a meaningful impact again and again as we come together to support and lift up a neighbor in need.

Intentional Inverted Organizational Structure

SVdP is an inverted pyramid organization. Instead of everything trickling down, which is the common organizational structure, we purposely focus all of our activities upward to those in need. The Council serves as the foundation of the organization, providing support to the hands-on, relational work that happens mostly at the local Conference level. The Districts serve in between, ensuring a strong connection between Council and Conferences.

Here’s how the organization functions to address the needs of the most vulnerable in our communities:

Role of Conferences

The work of SVdP really happens at the Conference level. That’s because we believe the people best equipped to help neighbors in need are those who live in the same community. This allows our response to poverty to be locally focused and delivered—and most fully aligned with the way poverty is being expressed in that community.

Conferences, which are organized around one or more parishes, provide the personal touch and financial support to those who come to SVdP for assistance. The Conference budget can come from the parish, special collections and some grants, too. Conferences use the funds to provide financial assistance for rent, utilities, car repairs, etc. SVdP Indy has 57 Conferences—each one with a president, secretary, spiritual advisor and group of dedicated volunteers.

Role of Districts

Conferences also generally belong to a regional District. The Districts serve as a conduit—between Council and Conferences, as well as among Conferences and across Districts. This provides for better communications and sharing of best practices. Each District has a president, all of whom are part of the Council board.

SVdP Indy has six Districts:

District President
East Jeni Christoffersen
North Bob White
South Maria Gonzales
West Diana Davis
South Central Bob Zerr
Southern Indiana Jim Koerber

 Role of Council

The Council’s main purpose is to support the work of our 57 Conferences so they can be successful. For starters, the Council serves as the operational and administrative arm—it’s the Council who owns property, manages assets like vehicles or buildings, pays insurance, etc. These are necessary functions of any organization, so by keeping these responsibilities at the Council level, our Conferences are freed up to do the work of our mission. Additionally, the Council also provides training, formation and resources to equip volunteers to serve with love and grace. It’s also through two key Council programs—Home Visitor and Help Line—that Conference members connect to those in need. Finally, the Council is responsible for setting common policies and procedures, so there is consistency across the organization.

Built to Last

This organizational structure allows us to serve those in need more immediately, while also building relationships and growing together in friendship. Most of all, it strengthens us, making us stronger together as one. And finally, this structure promotes our steadfastness. We plan to be here for years to come so that we can continue serving our neighbors in need.

 

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