The following press release was emailed to California Catholic Daily from the Board of Directors of Bay Area Crisis Nursery. It is a response to the December 11, 2018 CalCatholic story, “I was fired.”
The Board of Directors of the Bay Area Crisis Nursery (BACN) wishes to clarify its position and certain facts regarding Sister Ann Weltz.
As Executive Director for more than 37 years, Sister Ann Weltz faithfully served BACN, which she courageously founded in 1981. In turn, BACN has helped thousands of families through trying times and provided a unique and essential service to our community.
For some time now, BACN has recognized a number of challenges, subsequently causing negative financial results, a decrease in the census, and operational difficulties. After much discussion, which included Sister Ann, about the financial wellbeing and operational effectiveness of BACN, the Board decided that BACN would be served best by new leadership. Given that Sister Ann had devoted her life to BACN’s mission, on September 21, 2018, the Board asked her to continue to be active in the Nursery in the new role of Ambassador, which would allow her to continue to be a part of the phenomenal legacy that she had established. She rejected the proposal out of hand.
Nevertheless, BACN has continued to honor the service contract with The Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, the Catholic order through which Sister Ann served at BACN. BACN continues to pay her monthly salary and her benefits and a car allowance. Additionally, she continues to reside in the house on BACN property, for which her Order pays a nominal (all inclusive) monthly rent of $725.
It has been published that BACN repossessed the van that was owned by BACN and provided for Sister Ann’s use. This is untrue. In written communications, BACN offered to donate the van to Sister Ann’s Order to allow her to continue to use the van. The Order refused BACN’s offer in favor of providing Sister Ann with a vehicle, for which BACN pays.
Sister Ann and a former Board member contacted long-time donors, churches, past Board members, and newspapers, including the Catholic Voice, to publicly challenge the Board’s decision. Shortly thereafter, BACN saw some donors withdraw their support for the Nursery. The decision to ask Sister Ann to step down as Executive Director weighed heavily on the Board members. They took that step only after careful and deliberate consideration. While no one ever questioned the courage, vision and hard work that Sister Ann put forth to build BACN and run it successfully for decades, the Board believed that the downward trending financial position, a continuing decline in the families served, as well as other important operational issues, had not been addressed despite a number of requests. In this circumstance and focusing on what is in the best interests of BACN, the Board believed that the only prudent course was to install new leadership.
BACN’s all-volunteer Board of Directors is tasked with fulfilling its fiduciary responsibility to carry on the mission of the Nursery, as originally established by Sister Ann. This responsibility includes ensuring that BACN is financially sound and that the day-to-day operations of the Nursery are performed in an effective and efficient manner, including the consideration and adoption of best practices in the areas of fund raising, community outreach, and employment management.
The Board recognizes and strongly appreciates the storied history, the outstanding community service, and the many successes that Sister Ann has compiled over more than 37 years. This change is difficult for everyone, but it is in BACN’s best interests and those of the families it serves.
BACN will honor the Service Contract with Sister Ann’s Order through its current term, which ends on June 30, 2019. The Board has hired a new Executive Director to stabilize and lead the organization to fulfill its mission, which is and always has been “to prevent child abuse and neglect.”
This message is endorsed by all members of the Board of Directors of the Bay Area Crisis Nursery.