Thom Pollock, Executive Director – Bio

Photo of Thom Pollock, executive director of Crosspoint Human Services

Thom Pollock, Executive Director of Crosspoint

Since 1996, Thom Pollock has served the residents of Vermilion County and east central Illinois as the executive director of Crosspoint Human Services.

At the time Thom began his work at Crosspoint, the agency had been through some troubled financial times in which it had to scale back services. Thom had been a good friend of the late Don Burke, the former Crosspoint executive director who died suddenly in 1991. Thom and Don had banded together many times over the years to advocate for reasonable funding and rational state policies for public agencies serving the mentally ill and developmentally disabled. Thom held a great deal of respect for what Don and his team had built at Crosspoint – a vibrant human services agency in an underserved and underfunded part of Illinois. In 1996, he accepted the offer from Crosspoint’s board of directors to help rebuild the agency.

The hallmark of Thom’s career in human services – stretching from his stint in 1970 as a VISTA volunteer to today – has been his belief that in uncertain economic times and government funding cycles non-profit service providers need to focus on more than the best of intentions and highly qualified and professional staff. To that end, he pursued and was awarded an M.BA. from Northwestern University. As executive director of Trilogy and then Transitional Support Services in Chicago, Thom was perhaps the first human services chief executive in Illinois to hold an M.BA. Although more common today, at the time it was sign of things to come. Thom’s realization that non-profits had to leave behind the charity mindset and focus on more and better business knowledge as well as recognized standards and best clinical and business practices is a common thread running through most human services agencies today. Thom’s leadership and skill in budgeting, finance and planning have been put to good use at Crosspoint.

When he took over, Crosspoint was in the red and regularly utilizing a line of credit.  Through changes in budgeting practices, including bringing senior staff into the process for the first time, and creating efficiencies throughout the organization without cutting service, Thom and his staff brought the agency back. Crosspoint became a downstate leader in more fair compensation for its clinical staff, raising rates of pay to approximate the average rates in the Chicago area. Thom and his staff also shepherded Crosspoint through the Council on Accreditation’s national accreditation process certifying the agency’s high clinical standards and best business practices. Since that first accreditation, Crosspoint has continued to maintain COA’s nationally recognized standards and remains COA accredited today.

Crosspoint has weathered several state budget crises and economic downturns in Thom’s fifteen years at the agency. In fact, the agency has grown over time and now provides youth mental health crisis services in several counties, has increased its psychiatric services and has become a leader in providing and managing quality affordable housing. In just the last five years, Crosspoint financed and opened the New Holland, a historic and green renovation of a grand old apartment building in Danville’s city center; took over state multi-county contracts to provide Screening, Assessment and Support Services program and Child and Family Connections program services; and, saved the programs at Danville’s YFRC from closure by bringing the struggling agency into Crosspoint.

Thom’s goals for the immediate future include ensuring that federal health care reform does not leave agencies such as Crosspoint behind. He has been working since the 2010 passage of the Health Care Reform Act by Congress to prepare Crosspoint for systemic changes to come in how health care, including mental health and services for the intellectually disabled, are delivered when full implementation begins in 2014. Thom also remains active as an advocate for more and better affordable housing in Vermilion County. Finally, with the addition of YFRC to Crosspoint’s business, Thom is working with staff to seamlessly combine the two agencies and look for ways to use the YMCA building in downtown Danville, to provide more services and wellness opportunities for area residents.