Release date: March 13, 2023
This is the second episodes in the series that uses my experience with HomeBase Youth Services to examine what it is like to found a nonprofit, the role of a nonprofit Board of Directors, and how mature nonprofits grow and embed themselves in communities. My guest for this episode is Neil Sutton. Neil is an entrepreneur and serial community servant. He was on one of the first Boards of Directors for HomeBase and its Chair through the through the roughest time in its history. We discuss how he led HomeBase through those trials and, more importantly, why he did. More information about Neil and HomeBase can be found below.
Biography of Neil Sutton
I have resided in Scottsdale since 1988 with my wife Noel. We have a son, Ryan. Ryan has been my business partner for 25 years. Because of our financial background and experience in real estate, we become deeply immersed in the purchase, maintenance and sales of rental properties. With that background we expanded into real estate development and built out over a dozen apartment buildings
Fortunately being in the mortgage and real estate industry allowed us to provide housing opportunities to all ranges of people. We endeavor to build lifelong relationships and to serve our clients, retaining them as trusted referral supporters.
Vocationally, after earning a BA from the University of Illinois, I started my career as a Supply Officer in the Navy and served two tours in Vietnam on a destroyer, Subsequently, I went back to school and received an MBA from the University of Illinois. I entered the business world working with Ford Motor Company for a decade, and then Black and Decker and Honeywell as a logistics professional for another 15 years.
I escaped the corporate world after 25 years, when I started our business opening Desert Sun Mortgage brokerage in 1994, and then become a mortgage banking company. I am currently working with Leader One Financial in Scottsdale. I have semi-retired, but continue to do business in mortgage banker.
My community service work began with Church work as the Chair of Finance for my parish church. I later joined the Board of HomeBase Youth Services in the early 1990’s, when the HomeBase model was just a concept. I wrote the first business plan for the HomeBase organization and set up the accounting system.
After it became a viable non-profit, I then negotiated the purchase of a residential site. Later it was my privilege to then serve as Treasurer and head of the Finance Committee in the early years, and later Chairman of the Board. I served through the financial downturn of 2008-2010 and ensured the continuance of the mission.
I joined the Native American Connection Board (NACI) board in the last 1990s. NACI works in behavior health and low income and supportive housing. I remained active on both the HomeBase and NACI boards, also serving NACI as Treasurer. I left after several years with the title of Emeritus.
After going through a civic program call Scottsdale Leadership, I subsequently had an opportunity to lend some experience and insight to a Scottsdale non- profit named Family Promise. In continued pursuit of the homeless cause, I joined the board of Family Promise in 2015 and have served as the Board Chair for the last four years.
Overall, I believe that to be committed or even involved in any activity or cause, you have to begin by “being there”. Nothing speaks to dedication more than your gift of time. I have always tried to “be present”. Homelessness to my cause and passion and I will continue to work through a variety of approaches to resolve this issue.
HomeBase Youth Services