S. Ross Parker
Texarkana Resources for the Disabled Inc.
Category: Nonprofit Executive of the Year
S. Ross Parker has worked as executive director of Texarkana Resources for the Disabled Inc. for more than three decades.
Parker, 70, took on the position in 1980 at a smaller, financially weaker point in the nonprofit organization’s history. He began with two or three employees, a budget deficit of $17,000 and about 20 clients, and he has seen it through to financial health and other successes. Parker now heads an organization with a $1 million budget, a staff of 15 and about 60 daily clients.
“If you don’t run a charity like a business, you’re not going to be there long. So many charities depend on week-to-week, month-to-month donations ...,” Parker said. “I have accumulated reserves where I don’t have to worry about whether I could make payroll or not, and I’ve never had to worry about that since day one. Maybe I missed a paycheck or two, but my staff and my clients never missed a payday.”
Texarkana Resources provides disabled adults with training in independent living skills and work or pre-work proficiency. The organization also connects clients with work opportunities.
Parker has helped orchestrate the organization’s growth, overseeing expansion of its services and building projects that included a group home and a training center. He also raises funds for the organization and other groups through United Way of Texarkana and has won awards for his success in fundraising.
Parker takes pride in the relationships he has developed with local business leaders, who serve on the nonprofit’s board or offer subcontract work to the people participating in Texarkana Resource’s work program. Further, Parker has seen people leave his organization’s work program and take regular employment in the community.