By Chad Seveland , Chief Financial Officer at Upbring
Chad Seveland, MBA, is Chief Financial Officer at Upbring, a nonprofit organization dedicated to child wellbeing headquartered in Austin, TX.
Strong, successful organizations—whether they be for-profit or non-profit—have two things in common: a unique and valuable product or service, and financially well-structured operations.
As a professional with over 20 years of experience in finance and new CFO of Upbring, I have firsthand experience of how important these two elements contribute to an organization’s success and viability.
Our mission is brought to life through the programs and services we provide to the children we serve. However, their success hinges on the presence of a strong foundation comprising infrastructure, skilled personnel, adequate resources and a well-defined strategy that contributes to the stability and functioning of our organization. We believe non-profit organizations have the responsibility to operate cost-efficiently and to understand the deployment of capital on a risk adjusted basis, while associating both aspects with mission outcomes. In other words, an organization must comprehend the responsible cost of effectively impacting its recipients. This is critical not only to the recipients of the services but also to the broader community and supporters of our organization. It reflects good stewardship to everyone.
Upbring has dedicated the past seven years to a comprehensive restructuring initiative to transform itself into a nonprofit organization that is effective, efficient, and well-managed. This transformation has propelled us from a $60 million to a $115 million organization, without additional cash infusion, while now impacting the lives of over 13,000 plus children per year. Through this journey, we have gained valuable insights into the significance of focus and operational efficiencies as we diligently steward our funds. By leveraging the cost distribution structure we developed, we firmly believe that we stand as one of the most cost-efficient providers of outcomes on a per-child basis. Not only are we efficient in our operations, but also as our operations grow, we can generate additional resources for reinvestment.
In the words of our President and CEO, Michael Loo, “We are not like businesses that sell products or services. Those companies do not have the direct responsibilities that we have to our communities. We are accountable for children’s lives at Upbring, and we believe Texans rightfully expect us to manage our resources responsibly and structure our organization efficiently to serve the children in our programs.”
During Upbring’s organizational transformation, no aspect was left unaddressed. Our leadership team, including myself, spearheaded critical tasks of financial restructuring, human capital management overhauls and nurturing of an organizational culture that fosters excellence. We have worked relentlessly to perfect our operations, minimizing losses and errors, and tirelessly seeking innovative solutions to enhance the conditions for the children we serve. Years have been dedicated toward assessing, improving and instilling discipline into our work, all while fostering a profound sense of pride within the organization.
Speaking on behalf of the team, I share Michael’s sentiment: “We envisioned Upbring to operate at the level of a Fortune 500 company and we strive to match the performance of some of the best.” We must push ourselves to match the highest standards to achieve optimal outcomes for the children in our care.
However, our journey is far from complete, as the pursuit of child wellbeing knows no end. We recognize the untapped potential within our organization and stand ready to reach unprecedented levels of excellence within our industry that we hope will serve as a catalyst for positive change and create a resounding ripple effect. As Chief Financial Officer, I assure you that our financial management is strong, and we are poised to embrace new challenges as we continue our mission to promote child wellbeing and break the cycle of abuse. Together, with our dedicated internal team, we will continue to make a lasting impact and create a brighter future for children who rely on us.