Grow Here: Wyatt Schroeder on Intentional Growth
While bouncing around the East Coast working on political campaigns, Wyatt Schroeder heard countless stories of poverty and homelessness. Never having lived that experience, he felt compelled to address these issues head on and began working in low-income housing repair with AmeriCorps. Hearing stories of struggle and perseverance to maintain a healthy living environment gave him a fresh perspective on his own life and his ability to give back to those in need. Following this pursuit to Virginia and Philadelphia, Wyatt found himself seeking a change of scenery and started to look at cities that were beginning to grow. Within a few hours of visiting Boise, he knew the City of Trees was going to be home.
In 2015, Wyatt was hired as a consultant for Charitable Assistance to Community’s Homeless (CATCH) Inc., a local nonprofit organization with a vision “for an Idaho where no family experiences homelessness and those that do are swiftly and compassionately guided back into a home of their own.” At the time, CATCH was facing serious financial distress. The organization had a maxed line of credit and was operating with 50 percent of funding sourced from a grant that was nearing its end. Wyatt was soon hired as Executive Director of CATCH and began to make moves towards getting the organization back on its feet.
Wyatt formed partnerships with local organizations, like the City of Boise, to implement Housing First, the most effective strategy for ending homelessness. By doing so, CATCH re-structured to overcome its financial burdens and adopted innovative new practices. Accordingly, the agency graduated 65 families from the program, 7 more than the previous year. With Wyatt’s support, CATCH went into 2016 with a dedicated team and stable funds, as reported by a 2016 Idaho Business Review article.
Wyatt has since become entrenched in a tight-knit community where partnerships are promising, businesses encourage employees to be involved and growth is well underway. However, within Boise’s nonprofit sector, he has sensed a lack of thought leadership – something that can change when an ‘intentional growth’ mindset spans all industries and communities in the Valley. This means inviting local nonprofits to the table for economic development conversations and shifting the view of nonprofit organizations from separate organizations to one system of care having a collective impact on our community.
This deep, effective collaboration is what Wyatt hopes to see grow here in the coming years, along with the steady creation of community-service career opportunities for professionals that reach beyond a one-time volunteer opportunity, all while retaining the distinct, deep-seeded spirit of Boise that led Wyatt here years ago.