The Advocates of Grand County elect Devlin 2008 board president
December 11, 2007
The Advocates of Grand County have elected a new board president for 2008.
Richard Devlin of Fraser is the first male member to become head of the all-volunteer board, a nonprofit organization that provides services to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.
Devlin has held a variety of management and legal jobs in the telecom industry, including 13 years as executive vice president and general counsel at Sprint Corporation. He is currently semi-retired and offers pro-bono work at his law office in Winter Park.
But Devlin’s passion lies largely with the Advocates. His wife, Kim Linin, has been a crisis volunteer for the organization since they both moved to Grand County full-time in 2006.
“When you move to a community like Grand County, everything’s so beautiful … people want to give back. So that’s our way of doing it,” Devlin said. “It’s an issue we’re very passionate about.”
Devlin understands that a male president is unusual for an organization usually made up of women, but he plans to use this to his advantage. A vast majority of domestic violence perpetrators are male, he pointed out. Devlin may have a new perspective on how to reach those males and educate them.
“It may be more effective coming from a male, hearing that there’s nothing manly about domestic violence” he said.
Devlin also hopes to include more men in the fight against domestic violence and sexual assault.
“I think historically, women have been more active in this because they’re the victims, and perhaps victims feel more comfortable working with other women. But this isn’t a gender issue,” Devlin said. “It’s a society problem.”
Devlin said the top priority of Advocates is to help victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. He pointed out, however, that the mission is much broader ” to end it entirely.
As the organization’s new president, Devlin wants to focus on education and outreach. He hopes to raise greater awareness about domestic violence through presentations at local schools and other organizations. Education is also an important step in breaking the cycle, where male children of abusers tend to become abusers as adults, and female children of abusers tend to marry abusers.
Another goal is to find a better solution for safe housing, Devlin added. Safe housing provides a place for victims to go when they’re in danger.
“We have limited capabilities right now,” he admitted. “We’re looking for an alternative this coming year to see if we can be more effective.”
Devlin plans to tackle more fundraising next year. Currently the organization is “very reliant” on government funding, he said.
“That source of funding is not necessarily stable. We have not had a problem in the past, but we don’t want to rely so heavily on one source.”
Next year, the organization will target its fundraising more toward individual contributors, he said. (The Advocates’ two major fundraisers are Girls Night Out, and Taste of Spring.)
Devlin joined the Advocates board earlier this year, and he is looking forward to being president in 2008, he said.
“I have the time, energy and passion to do it, so I feel really good about it.”