An H-P guy now leading a non-profit? It’s not such a leap, explains Menlo Park resident Bruce Ives, who was named Chief Executive Officer of InnVision Shelter Network in March, after being at Hewlett-Packard for 19 years.
“There is a common thread to my career choices, and it’s public service,” he said. “I made a conscious decision to work for a company that values public service. While there, I founded and led the legal team’s pro bono program and was able to expand it internationally.”
Professionally, he’s also worked at an inner-city school, was in the Los Angeles Public Defender’s office, and served as District Director for Congresswoman Anna Eshoo as well as being elected a Trustee of the Menlo Park City School District.
“When I became eligible to retire at H-P at 55, I started thinking about where I could make the best use of my skills and background — and make a contribution,” he said. “The IVSN opportunity presented itself, with a great team already in place. There wasn’t a need for another homeless expert but rather someone to help on the management side.”
On the job only 45 days when we talked to him, Bruce said that he’s already gained a much deeper appreciation of the face of homelessness here on the mid-Peninsula. “Given the cost of housing, it only takes one thing to go wrong,” he said.
Bruce explained that IVSN’s Haven House, which is located in Menlo Park, not only provides shelter but also provides the skills and training for residents to be self-sufficient when they leave the shelter. “The vast majority of families we never see again,” he said. “And that’s a good thing!”
One of IVSN’s newer programs, called ACES, focuses on helping shelter kids get on the college bound track, working with them to gain a love of learning while also helping their parents, most of whom did not attend college, share that vision. The curriculum is being piloted at three shelters, and the goal is to raise enough funds to hire a program director and roll it out to all shelters.
The biggest ongoing challenge, according to Bruce, is rising housing costs, which fuel the need for IVSN services. “Public funds are getting scarcer,” he said, “so we need to meet the increasing need with increasing reliance on private sources.”
Photo by Irene Searles