Our former Board and staff member, Marcia Bufford has left the city. She was currently serving as Board Treasurer after retiring from three years as Board President. She started out in 1997 as a volunteer with the Homeless Stand Down recruiting and training other volunteers. She then took a turn as an Americorps*VISTA with CTO and with NEOCH. She did tenant and community organizing for the two organizations. She leaves today for greener pastures in another state. She could not find a job here after working with homeless people and children for over a decade.
She goes to another community to work in a shelter working with families and children. This leaves a big hole in our agency, and we will miss Marcia. She has prided herself in good governance and maintaining our ethical integrity as an organization. Cleveland has not been a good environment for Marcia. She was shot in the throat back in 2007 and spent months in the intensive care unit at MetroHealth. She has had a series of bad relationships with men who have left her worse then they found her. And she has struggled finding a decent place to work in this community. Marcia has worked for shelters, homeless service providers, children's agencies (both big and small), but has never found stable employement that could be a source of pride.
Marcia was part of the leadership team during the economic downturn, and worked tirelessly to keep the organization in business. She wanted to make sure that no matter what happened to NEOCH she did not want homeless people harmed. Marcia and the other board members worked out a safe landing for all the services we were operating in the 2000s to other agencies. She is passionate about solving homelessness. Marcia desperately wanted to see a reduction in the number of people living poverty, and she has tried to dedicate her life to that goal. Marcia is an expert on diversity training in the workplace, and is always sensitive to racial disparity issues. She has spoken often of her sadness about seeing in nearly every American city great disparity in the number of African Americans who become homeless when compared to their proportion of the population.
Both Board and staff wish Marcia the best in her new life. We will miss her ability to be nice in the face of adversity or opposition. She had an amazing ability to put on a positive face even when the agency was being unfairly targeted. Marcia wanted to see the best in our society, but regularly had to deal with the worst. She did a great job keeping the organization together during tough times. We hope that she finds a better and more stable life in her next home community.
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