The Mustard Seed is not only celebrating its 35th anniversary this year, but also has hit a special leadership milestone. Executive Director, Kathy Baldwin, has been leading The Mustard Seed for 10 years. In the following interview, Kathy shares her experience leading TMS.
Can you share a little bit about what brought you to lead The Mustard Seed?
The Mustard Seed board of directors found my credentials through LinkedIn when the organization was in transition with an Interim Director. I was the cofounder of and Executive Director for The Gift of Swimming, and also previously worked in resource development at Heart of Florida United Way.
When thinking of a “furniture bank,” can you put into context how TMS serves within social services available in the Central Florida community?
A furniture bank is a nonprofit based on donations to provide those in need using a fee-based program. Our facility is not an “open to the public” store where purchases are made.
Can you share some of the growth The Mustard Seed has experienced since you started leading the agency 10 years ago?
The organization needed leadership, fiscal accountability, facility updates, and human resource resolutions. The most notable growth is the budget from $450K each year to $1.4 million each year. Second, is the longevity of staff, as we now have many staff who have been with the agency for years. Third the continual upgrade in our appearance and reputation.
What is next for The Mustard Seed?
The next major milestone we are working on is a location for an offsite Mattress Recycling Facility. As an environmentally responsible nonprofit, the volume of mattresses being dropped to our facility has exceeded our current space for storage. We are looking forward to the next chapter.
Can you share your favorite memory of your time with The Mustard Seed?
I enjoy the team building of the volunteers and the heart tugging stories from the clients we serve.
My favorite story: I heard a scream in the warehouse, I recognized that this young 18-year-old was overwhelmed with choosing furniture and household items for the first time in her life. She had just aged out from foster care. That’s a rewarding experience.
To learn more about The Mustard Seed, click here.
To support Central Florida’s only furniture bank, click here.