• 110 Years of NFSB: Board President Dave Popkin Reflects with Gratitude

    Dave Popkin vividly remembers how a random food donation drop-off at Nutley Family Service Bureau (NFSB) led to an impromptu meeting with then-Executive Director Eileen Painter.
    “She basically grabbed me by the ear and dragged me into her office,” Dave recalls with a laugh. “We had a long conversation about how I might be able to help the organization in other ways. I suggested a rock concert to bring in younger people, get some publicity, and spur growth.”

    That conversation produced the inaugural Rock Hunger event, which has become one of NFSB’s signature fundraisers. Fast forward to late 2022 and Dave was elected president of the board of trustees. Reflecting on his first year leading the board, Dave is excited about what has been accomplished in 2023, and what lies ahead.
    “There has been an emphasis on improving the client experience and our procedures and methodologies,” Dave said. “We’ve become a much more modern, efficient organization over the last couple years, which has enabled us to improve and expand our services and keep up with demand.”

    The Mental Health Program served more clients than ever in 2023. Services focused on the senior community increased in 2023. We have record numbers of customers in the Thrift Shop. The Inclusive Communities program, an initiative launched to make Nutley more inclusive and accessible for people living with disabilities, now has a full-time coordinator and has made significant progress. More growth is expected in these areas in 2024.

    Dave is particularly proud of the evolution of the Food Pantry from a source of food to a more holistic service. In addition to personalized shopping, which gives clients more dignity and makes them more likely to eat the food they receive, clients have the option to meet with case management. Having a bilingual case manager has enabled NFSB to help more clients access social services and receive mental health counseling.

    “I’m really proud of Katherine (Carmichael, Executive Director) and the staff for all of the advances that they continue to make with the organization,” Dave said. “Of course, we couldn’t do any of this without our volunteers. We now have more than 150 volunteers who support NFSB in so many ways. I’m grateful for everything they do for the organization and the community.”
    Dave is excited about the steps forward NFSB has taken and looks forward to continued improvement, including enhancements to fundraising strategies. Demand for NFSB services has never been higher, and revenue is needed to meet the needs of the community.

    “All of these programs that have grown significantly require a lot of money,” Dave said. “We saw a nice bump on Giving Tuesday. That has helped our annual appeal, which has an aggressive goal of $110,000 in recognition of our 110th year. We’re grateful to every donor, and we’re asking people to look into their hearts and help us support the 3,000-plus people who we interact with each year.”

    During NFSB’s year-long, 110-year celebration, Dave has been fortunate to meet new people who have contributed to the organization in different ways. He appreciates the support of past board presidents and members, executive directors, staff, and volunteers who have sustained NFSB for more than a century.

    “I know the organization has had a rollercoaster history, but we have the support of a lot of people who care,” Dave said. “NFSB is in a good place right now. I just want to help maintain that upward trajectory and add to the positive history of the organization. I’m glad we’re recognizing past presidents for all the work they’ve done to get us to this place.”

    Today, as Dave reflects on his NFSB journey with a deeper understanding of its rich history, he’s still in awe of the impact NFSB has made over the course of 110 years.

    “It’s humbling,” Dave said. “The success and influence of NFSB speak to the heart and the community-minded nature of a town where an organization could survive for this long and make a difference in the lives of tens of thousands of people, often when they’re at their lowest. Nutley is the perfect home for such an incredible organization, and I’m honored to be a part of it.”

    To make a donation and to find out about all that NFSB has done for our community, please Visit our Appeal Page

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