In July 2017, Fredrick Blocton took the helm as President of the 180 Degree Board of Directors. Blocton, VP of Sales/President of UpNet CSG group at UpNet Technologies, has shepherded the organization through an intense period of growth and change, the challenges of the COVID pandemic, and has been a constant champion for using data to drive the organization forward. Recently Executive Director Dan Pfarr sat down with Blocton to take a look back at where 180 Degrees was when he joined and where the organization is now headed.
Dan: How you would describe 180 Degrees when you joined us five years ago?
Fredrick: Five years ago, 180 Degrees had a great foundation to grow upon, but we were doing so much that our efforts were watered down. We embarked on a year of intensive strategic planning where the board worked hard to define our core mission. This led to the focus on trauma responsive care and more consistent program goals and outcomes. Within three years, we had diversified our revenue sources--putting us in a much stronger fiscal position and allowing us to deliver our services to our clients more efficiently.
Dan: As we emerge from the COVID pandemic, where is 180 Degrees today??
Fredrick: The shelter staff at 180 Degrees worked incredibly hard to keep our clients safe from the COVID virus. Although we had several outbreaks, I’m proud to say that we kept our shelters open 24/7/365 throughout the entire pandemic. Staff definitely kept our programs functioning under extraordinary circumstances. And recently, additional COVID funding has been secured to renovate two of our shelters in an effort to prevent and mitigate the transmission of future communicable diseases.
Dan: How has 180 Degrees improved its ability to embrace data and technology?
Fredrick: 180 Degrees has taken a deliberate and intensive multi-year transformation around data. This meant developing consistent outcomes for all shelters, as well as setting up specific indicators to measure the progress of each different program. Once our programs were aligned to track and document the same activities, then we trained staff to accurately collect data, and now we can start to analyze the results and see what we can learn from the data. It’s not an overnight process, rather a strategy that requires a great deal of commitment.
Dan: Where is 180 Degrees today?
Fredrick: Today 180 Degrees is like a rocket on the platform. We’re ready to make a huge impact in the community around trauma responsive care and we’ve totally invested in capturing data about our programs. This will have a big return investment and put us in a good position for the next five years.
Dan: Fredrick, you’ve made an amazing impact on 180 Degrees. You’ve integrated our mission into your life, because your volunteer work, your personal work, and your personal life are all part of the same fabric. You live the mission and carry 180 Degrees with you 24/7.
Fredrick leaves the Board in the capable hands of Amy Diesen, Former, Vice President of Retirement Plans at Ameriprise, who became President of the 180 Degrees Board of Directors in January 2022.
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For over thirty years, CEO Dan Pfarr has been on the front lines of the human services community, working to lift-up youth, adults, and families in crisis. His focus on trauma-informed care helps shape the direction of 180 Degrees and inspire a team of nearly one hundred employees. As a multi-cultural organization with staff and clients who have suffered a life of prejudice and inequality, 180 Degrees continues prioritizing discussion and action against a system of racial injustice.