FamilyMeans Earns Two Endorsements for Excellence

FamilyMeans Earns Two Endorsements for Excellence

Sep 19, 2019

News, Volunteers

Agency renews credential with Council on Accreditation and earns first certification in volunteer engagement from Points of Light Service Enterprise

FamilyMeans celebrates two earned credentials this summer.  

First, after a year-long self-study and site visit the agency was granted a renewed endorsement by the Council on Accreditation (COA). This is effective is through 2023.

COA President & CEO Jody Levison-Johnson wrote to FamilyMeans President Arba-Della Beck: “Reaccreditation is a tremendous achievement that demonstrates that your organization is recognized as a provider that continues to successfully implement high performance standards and, as such, is delivering the highest quality services to all of its stakeholders.”

Arba-Della Beck credits the FamilyMeans management team, staff, and volunteers who work every four years on this intensive renewal process: “FamilyMeans first gained accreditation in 1989, and since then over 800 standards for excellence have continually been woven into the agency’s programs and operations.” Liz McGinley, FamilyMeans Board Chair, echoes the appreciation and “applauds FamilyMeans on being one of only ten other Minnesota agencies who are COA accredited.”

Council on Accreditation, founded in 1977 and based in NYC, is an international, independent nonprofit human services accrediting organization.  Peer-driven, the COA has accredited over 2,200 agencies globally. It reviews the entire operations of agencies in the continuum of child welfare, behavioral health, and community-based social services.

Secondly, FamilyMeans is pleased to announce that it has been certified by Points of Light, the world’s largest organization dedicated to volunteer service, as a Service Enterprise organization.  Locally, the Minnesota Association of Volunteer Administration (MAVA) is the training hub for this program.

Achieving Service Enterprise certification is a prestigious accomplishment for FamilyMeans. In fact, organizations that certify join the top 11 percent of nonprofits nationwide in volunteer management and organizational performance. FamilyMeans completed an external assessment, over 20 hours of training and coaching, and an extensive internal planning and change process to better integrate volunteers. Certification signifies that organizations have the capability and management expertise to strategically utilize volunteers to improve the performance of their organization.

Dianne Vierling, one of FamilyMeans Volunteer Coordinators, underscores that “volunteers have been important to the agency’s success for 56 years. The Service Enterprise certification formalizes that that our ongoing volunteer strategy is formally a part of our operations. FamilyMeans volunteers are vital to the clients we serve.”  FamilyMeans engages over 220 dedicated volunteers annually. They perform a variety of services, from pairing up with a care receiver for respite companionship to Youth Development tutors to office assistance and events.

By achieving this level of excellence and certification, FamilyMeans is now better equipped to leverage the time and talent of volunteers and better meet our mission. Through the Service Enterprise model, for every $1 invested in effective volunteer engagement, organizations can expect $2-$6 in return through more effective program delivery. Brian Gunderson, FamilyMeans Board Vice Chair, indicates “how pleased that the agency is to quantify the ROI given the qualitative value volunteers provide to FamilyMeans. Volunteers are an integral part of the human capital at FamilyMeans.”

To learn more about how to find help with our programs, volunteer, or donate, please contact FamilyMeans at 651-439-4840 or visit