Davis Community Meals and Housing (DCMH) executive director Bill Pride has announced he will retire after leading the nonprofit organization for more than 22 years, the last five being years of exponential growth.
“I am humbled by what we, as a community, have accomplished since our founding in 1991, and particularly by what we have done in the last five years,” Pride said in announcing his retirement.
“When it comes to providing shelter and services for the homeless, many communities say, ‘not in my backyard,’” Pride said. “But, here in Davis, together we raised more than $7 million to build a first-of-its-kind facility that provides day supportive services, and emergency, transitional, and permanent supportive housing, all under one roof. Together we have created Paul’s Place, a new model for serving the most vulnerable and adding a critically important component to our community’s continuum of care.”
Passion and heart
While taking Paul’s Place from inception to construction has been a crown jewel of his time at DCMH, Pride said he is also exceptionally proud of the work that the nonprofit has done over the last 30 years, even under the most challenging of circumstances.
“I am immensely fortunate to have worked with Becky Marigo, Synda Whitmer, and Harmony Scopazzi for more than 15 years,” Pride said.
“Becky, Harmony, Synda, other members of our team, as well as our many volunteers, have a heart and a passion for the most vulnerable among us, and they are uncompromising in their commitment to support individuals and families who are homeless or at-risk of homelessness.
“Even during the worst days of the COVID pandemic, our team showed up to help those who needed us,” Pride said. “I can honestly say that DCMH staff and its volunteers have saved and changed lives.”
Starting as a volunteer
Pride was trained as an attorney and worked for many years representing individuals with mental health issues in the state Department of Corrections. He had developed empathy for those facing personal challenges while growing up, where he saw his father struggle with mental health issues that were the result of being held as a German POW during World War II.
Pride joined DCMH in 1993 as a volunteer at its Saturday meal program, after being invited to serve by a neighbor. In 2001, he became executive director of the organization, which then had three employees. At the time, DCMH’s work was focused on coordinating Tuesday and Saturday meals programs, and providing shelter and services at a former ranch-style house at 1111 H Street.
Growing the nonprofit
Today, DCMH has 14 employees and a roster of volunteers who work with about 1,200 individuals and families a year. DCMH operates a cold weather shelter, street outreach program, and continues to serve meals, now three days a week, in partnership with St. Martin’s Church.
DCMH also owns and operates Paul’s Place, which has a daily resource center, four emergency shelter beds, 10 units of transitional housing and 18 units of permanent supportive housing.
Paul’s Place is DCMH’s third housing project. The nonprofit also has partial ownership in Cesar Chavez Plaza and Creekside Apartments, where DCMH provides services to formerly homeless individuals and families who now live in the two apartment complexes combined 142 units of permanent supportive housing. Cesar Chavez Plaza was the first permanent supportive housing complex built in Yolo County specifically for homeless individuals.
Committed to shelter
Doug Buzbee, a DCMH board member and chair of the Paul’s Place Construction Committee, lauded Pride for his vision in moving DCMH from a services-focused organization to one that offers the support needed to keep people housed and that pursues additional shelter options.
“Bill has been instrumental in working to increase housing opportunities for at-risk and homeless individuals in Davis,” Buzbee said. “Bill fully supported the idea of building an innovative new structure to offer services and shelter under one roof. Paul’s Place is a reality due in large part to Bill’s vision and leadership.
“All of us at DCMH are enormously grateful for Bill’s contributions to improving the lives of individuals and families, which also improves the health of our entire community,” Buzbee said.
DCMH is a nonprofit, non-denominational organization whose mission is to provide low-income and homeless individuals and families with support and services that lead to stability and self-sufficiency. Its purpose is to provide low-income and homeless individuals and families with housing, food, and support services to help them rebuild their lives.
A Fall Celebration
Pride has given several months’ notice of his retirement to allow time to search for his successor. A celebration of Pride’s service and successes is expected in the Fall.
Learn More about DCMH
Additional information about DCMH is at:
• Paul’s Place https://paulsplacedavis.org/