Francois Cardinal reflects on 10 years at Stand In The Gap
As executive director, Cardinal has seen the nonprofit grow from an operating budget of $200,000 to $685,000.
A decade ago, Francois Cardinal was sitting on the board of directors for the Tulsa-based nonprofit Stand in the Gap Ministries, but he wanted to do more.
“I was looking to make a change professionally,” says Cardinal, who had worked for corporations like IBM, Texas Instruments and MCI. “I worked for some really great companies, but what brought me out of the business world was that it wasn’t fulfilling for me.”
Stand in the Gap Ministries’ founder, Buddy Stone, who is now retired, came to Cardinal and asked him to help take the organization to the next level.
Now as executive director, Cardinal has seen the nonprofit grow from an operating budget of $200,000 to $685,000, impacting more than 5,000 individuals a year.
During his 10 years at Stand in the Gap, the organization and its 1,500 volunteers have focused its mission on three groups: 16- to 24-year-olds “from hard places,” women in transition from hard places and widows.
Cardinal and his staff are working to create an inaugural conference for its 75 church partners that work with Stand in the Gap’s widow program, as well as something similar for the residential transition home operators that partner with the nonprofit on its Women in Transition program.
“I had some really great experiences in those corporate jobs,” Cardinal recalls, looking back on the past decade. “People have a misconception about nonprofits. It is a business. You have to raise as much money as you spend, market and build awareness. I brought a perspective that others may not have had.”