Every non-profit organization will tell you that having a Board of Directors that is engaged, supportive and there to help you through good times and struggles is critical to meetings its mission. At Helping Hands Hawaii (HHH), we have been very fortunate to have a Board of Directors that is tough when they need to be tough, engaged when they need to be engaged and supportive without micro-managing. One of those long-time Board members is Albert “Al” J. Pattison, Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer at Hawaiiana Group, Inc., and a member of the HHH Board of Directors since December 2001.
Al has used his expertise in human resources and operational management to help develop a strong executive team to lead the agency forward. His guidance has allowed HHH to improve internal HR policies and procedures, problem solve difficult situations that required Board-level guidance and input and enabled us to build an HR program and environment that supports our employees while also meeting the needs of the agency and the people we are here to serve.
Over the years, Al has become more than a member of our board. He is an essential team member and supporter who has participated in HHH events through volunteerism (including bringing his family out to volunteer), donations of material goods and annual giving. Through these interactions, he has gotten to know many of our staff and has witnessed the high level of dedication and devotion with which they provide programs and services to benefit the community. Even though he is not involved in the daily operations of the agency, Al still feels connected to the staff and clients we serve and is part of the HHH team that is making a difference.
HHH has directly benefited from Al’s guidance for nearly 15 years. With his help, the agency has grown and cultivated a company culture that attracts employees whose main purpose is helping clients in any way they can, including helping clients to help themselves. But, as Al notes, it has also allowed him to continue to grow as well.
“I believe my participation on the Board of Directors helps the community and also allows me to engage my children to help the community too,” he said. “Not only do they attend the annual fundraising dinner, but they have adopted families through the Adopt A Family program and made donations to HHH without me even asking.”
Al’s personal commitment to HHH has developed into steadfast support from his entire family. Their relationship with the agency offers the entire ʻohana opportunities to give back to their community. So, it is no surprise that Al feels most connected to a program that helps so many local families in Hawaii.
“The Community Clearinghouse is a part of HHH that touches many lives and other non-profit organizations,” Al said. “It is very satisfying to know that those in need can come to our organization and pickup items that will assist them in their daily lives or help them transition to a new life.”
The Community Clearinghouse (CCH) gives low-income and homeless individuals and families access to free basic necessities. All of its inventory – clothing, furniture, beds, small appliances, household goods and more – are donated by the public, and clients are referred for service by hundreds of social service agencies and community partners.
Each year the Community Clearinghouse and its seasonal programs assists approximately 18,000 individuals. These individuals come from single-parent, dual-parent or multi-generational households. They are elderly, disabled or veterans living on a limited, fixed income who need help making ends meet. They are children, many under the age of 13. Sometimes clients are victims of domestic violence or recently released from incarceration and have no possessions to begin their new lives. Other times the CCH helps immigrants and homeless individuals and families settle into new homes.
The longer that Al and his family continue to support HHH, the more they see firsthand how the agency makes a difference in people’s lives. Al hopes others in the community will reach out and offer support or inquire about how they can help. When communities band together, he believes we can help address some of the biggest challenges that face local families and improve their quality of life.