Porter is the new director of the Volunteer Center of Erie County, a group that helps local residents find volunteer opportunities, and helps local nonprofits recruit volunteers.
“I’m thrilled to be running another nonprofit agency,” said Porter, 43, of Sandusky. “I can’t imagine having a job that doesn’t help others.”
She took the new role in August.
Porter said “matchmaking” volunteers with chances to help the community is a major role at her agency, located at 300 Central Ave. in the Red Cross building.
The agency talks with would-be volunteers to help them find an activity they'll enjoy.
“We offer a one-on-one consultation to find out what their likes and interests and schedule is like,” she said.
Examples of popular volunteer efforts include helping nursing home residents play bingo or go shopping; aiding veterans at the Ohio Veterans Home; providing tours at local museums; working the downtown Popcorn Wagon; helping hospital gift shops; delivering meals to homebound residents; and sewing or making items for local agencies.
About 50 local nonprofits can use a hand from volunteers.
“I didn’t realize there were that many in Erie County,” Porter said.
Porter, an animal lover who keeps a large, stuffed toy dog in her office, was the executive director of the Humane Society of Erie County.
She was abruptly fired from that job in February 2011. Publicly, the humane society's board members had said they appreciated her dedication to the cause of helping animals, but they said they had philosophical differences with her.
Board members conducted a secret job evaluation of Porter, but they never revealed the results to her or anyone else. The action shocked Porter, who said all of her previous job evaluations had been fine.
Ironically, Porter’s successor at the Humane Society director, Barbara Hargreaves, is the former executive director of the Volunteer Center. Hargreaves said she held the post from 1996 to 2003.
Porter said she’s no longer involved with local animal rescue efforts, but she continues to maintain her personal menagerie. She owns nine cats and five dogs.
And she’s delighted to return to the nonprofit world.
“I think most people working in a nonprofit would agree it’s a job with a moral calling,” she said. “You’re here to make a difference in someone’s life.”
Want to Help?
Anyone wishing to volunteer may contact the Volunteer Center at 419-627-0074 for a consultation on volunteer opportunities. Opportunities to volunteer are also listed at the center’s website, thevolunteercenter.com.