When the doors were opened at Hendricks College Network this week, something was missing.
Cathy Bastin, executive director of HCN for the past 10 years, has left the organization to take a position at the IUPUI School of Fundraising.
Friends and co-workers feted her at a celebration last Friday and she reflected on her tenure at the agency and the more than 39,000 students she has helped.
“The community really came together to support this idea to provide workforce development and educational training,” Bastin said. “We didn’t even know what it’d look like three months from (when I started). There was not any model in the state. There were learning centers, but none created the way we envisioned it then. In hindsight, we were doing what I always wanted us to do, to provide that guidance office for grown-ups to meet those dreams educationally so they can meet their dreams job-related. One thing we definitely wanted in those early days was some sort of college presence. We have seven now — far beyond what we would have imagined.”
Bastin said the tough decision to attack another challenge was made easier by the fact that she knows those around her at HCN have made it so successful and will continue to do so.
“They’re amazing,” she said of her co-workers and volunteers with HCN. “I simply made phone calls, asked questions for people. They’re the ones that did all the work and I am so proud of the accomplishments.
“The HCN is in such good shape. It’s a comfort level to know that if there were a good time to leave, now would be it. The board is active, the committees are looking at some neat things, there are new partnerships happening. From that side, it’s a good opportunity.”
Brandy Perrill had been named interim director of HCN.
Bastin said she and Perrill have worked well together in the past and she’s confident in Perrill’s abilities.
“One woman whom I met at the women’s shelter, it was the first or second year I was here, and as you hear anytime you hear stories about women in some of these situations, she could barely look me in the eyes,” Bastin said. “Her future was based on the next meal, not college.
“When Brandy came on board, we got back in touch with her and she started meeting with her as well. That student has now completed her associate’s degree and is living on her own, very successful. We knew early on that providing that one-on-one guidance, years of work would still get people where they wanted to go.
“Brandy is well prepared to handle whatever comes in front of her. They’re all amazing people with an amazing vision. They had a vision and continued to believe in it and the community has as well.”
Bastin said the biggest challenge over the decade is one she’ll be facing yet again in her new role.
“Funding is always daunting for a non-profit,” she said. “Tuning into what the community needs and wants and being able to provide that, that’s always a daunting challenge. We were very fortunate. People used to laugh when they asked our business model and I said that we have programs we complete and the funding just sort of appears. We were doing good things, so the funding followed. I don’t know if that’s teachable necessarily, but there is a method to do that.
“This (new position), in particular, gives me a chance to take some of what I learned and experienced here and take it to a broader demographic, those who want to learn more about the details of fundraising. I can share some of those things and learn. This is certainly a new opportunity for me to learn new things and experience new things.”
Bastin said she will be working with IUPUI faculty, working in the fundraising curriculum, and updating the methods.
“It’s a different aspect of fundraising, and I’ve been in it all my life,” she said. “I taught elementary school years ago, and if you weren’t asking someone for something in the classroom, the day wasn’t happening.
“I’ve always been in it in one arena or another. To take a look at (fundraising) and sort of be that guide and be a part of a team that helps guide organizations and do it successfully will really transition from what I’ve always done. I’m really looking forward to it.”
For more information on Hendricks College Network, visit the website at hendrickscollegenetwork.org.