Board members are a vital piece of every non-profit lifeline, and when these stakeholders’ time with organizations comes to an end, it can be significant. In the case of departing HomeAgain board member, Jesse Gallop, his enthusiasm and dedication for homeless services, as well as his fun-loving demeanor, will truly be missed.
Following 3 years as a board member and as a rabbi to the local Congregation Beth Ahabah, Jesse recently relocated to Tuxedo, New York to continue his work there. He and his husband, Andrew (who is also a rabbi), have been wonderful supporters of our organization as they have donated countless hours and effort into making HomeAgain the best it can be.
Jesse was no stranger to homeless services when he joined the board, in fact, he spent time as an undergraduate student working with homeless youth in Denver, Colorado. He believed from early on that this work was important. “I was raised with a lot of privilege. I have never gone without. We don’t get to choose our circumstance, but I’ve been blessed so I wanted to give back to the community.”
Growing up in Minnesota, Jesse described the state’s focus on social services and communal responsibility. Partially because of this, he decided to serve as often as he could working as an informal Jewish youth education counselor in Florida, Israel, and Minnesota. He was also a rabbi in D.C. before coming to Richmond. Here he served a congregation with 650 families in a beautiful synagogue adorned with magnificent stain glass windows, one from Tiffany’s.
Since he arrived, Jesse has been active in our city and is very proud of his time with HomeAgain. “I love that HomeAgain isn’t religiously based. It’s client-based and open to diverse needs. That is why we have such a high success rate,” he said.
He went on to say, “People need help sometimes. There are hard working people in a system where they just can’t get ahead. They need social support… HomeAgain is literally a bang for your buck, because 89 cents of every dollar donated goes directly to client services.”
He stressed the necessity of board members, volunteers, donors, and dedicated employees as the city works towards ending homelessness. “Your money has a direct impact. HomeAgain’s success rate indicates that. Board members invest; they care and this has really been a nice experience.”
Although he is proud of HomeAgain’s stability, Jesses shares that he is also appreciative of the process needed to achieve this. “When I first got on the board, the focus of the organization was programmatic. Switching from that to rapid re-housing was work, but we’ve seen growth in the investment of the board members and we are at a point to strengthen that,” he said.
Jesse shared that he will miss Richmond and that he has enjoyed the restaurants and living in The Fan. He and Andrew have twin boys who are almost two years old; it was here that they started their family. Despite their heartbreak over leaving our city, both are excited to begin a new chapter in New York, where Jesse will serve as the rabbi at a new congregation with 250 families.
Jesse has been instrumental in the the success of our organization, and his absence will be known. “HomeAgain will always have a place in my heart and mind. The organization is truly maturing, and I take great pride in feeling like a part of that.”