Emergency Care Help Organization (ECHO)
1707 S. Gadsden Street
Tallahassee FL 32301
Contact Information
Address 1707 S. Gadsden Street
Tallahassee, FL 32301
Telephone (850) 224-3246
Fax 850 224-3267
E-mail FBranham@echotally.org
Web and Social Media
Donate Directly to this Organization http://echotlh.org/get-involved/contribute-financially/
Donate to this Orgs Endowment Fund at Community Foundation http://www.cfnf.org/index.cfm?p=ways-to-give
At A Glance
Organization DBA
ECHO Outreach Ministries
Emergency Care Help Organization
Organization's type of tax exempt status Public Supported Charity
EIN Number 59-2290628
Year of Incorporation 1984
Financial Summary
Projected Revenue $501,000.00
Projected Expenses $494,000.00
Mission Statement
ECHO is a not-for-profit, non-denominational Christian relief organization which provides holistic services designed to promote self-sufficiency and empowerment of people in crisis and those living under the burden of poverty. We are dedicated to serving Tallahassee’s most vulnerable people regardless of religion, race, ethnicity or gender.
Needs Statement
2015 Most Pressing Needs
1.    Our Emergency Resources Program is currently working out of our small (6,000 sq ft) warehouse location on W Madison St. We are in need of a larger warehouse (approximately 10,000 sq ft) to adequately store our food, household goods and used furniture.

2.     Because the number of clients asking for food donations continues to climb, we are in need of additional organizations, offices, churches or other groups to coordinate food drives for ECHO.

3..    We need assistance in completing and implementing the Marketing Plan for ECHO. This plan would include an increased presence in the social networks and advertisement through more traditional channels.
4.     We need volunteers who would like to mentor a clients experiencing homelessness. This would include: employment assistance, assist clients in engaging in the community and being a friend. 
5.     We are in need of volunteers to greet clients and act as our receptionist on a regular basis. 
Impact Statement
During the past year ECHO has:
  •  Sold Bethany Apartments and relocated our shelter for woman and children to a new dormitory style facility in the West Gate community. The common and open living areas are more conducive to volunteer groups who provide mentoring and life skills classes to our residents.
  • Recruited a new board member with expertise in real estate.
  • Began implementation of Capital Campaign to secure to secure ECHOs future.
  • Hired new program directors for Emergency Resources and Family Services programs. Also hired additional administrative staff.
  • Received funding for a new box truck to pick up donated furniture.
Goals for 2015:
  •   ECHO is actively, pursuing moving our main office and warehouse on West Madison St. to a larger, more visible location that is more convenient for our clients.
  • Increase city wide church participation and volunteer base.
  • To fully implement our paper-less case management system.
Background Statement
The Emergency Care and Help Organization began in 1981 by Ms. Toni Tran. She was working at an employment agency and had been praying for the Lord to show her how He wanted her to use her talents. To make a long story short, she opened ECHO.
She worked with a group of Tallahassee churches to pool their fiscal and volunteer resources. With the help from these churches, ECHO originally offered food to the hungry and employment assistance. She named it ECHO because of her belief that her clients would imitate the kindness shown to them and help others.
Through the years ECHO has grown from its original purpose by adding a furniture bank and housing homeless families. The agency's objective has always remained the same- to assist others in their time of need.
Service Categories
Emergency Assistance (Food, Clothing, Cash)
Homeless Shelters
Homeless Services/Centers
Areas of Service
Areas Served
We serve Leon county neighbors in need.
Board Chair Statement

Food and shelter constitute two of the very basic needs of humans. However, there comes a time when an individual or a family might not have one or both. Poverty and homelessness have the potential to devastate the life of families. At ECHO, the oldest faith-based non-profit organization in Tallahassee, we believe working with individuals and families not only to address their immediate needs but to help them become independent is the appropriate course of action. Thus, our current programs are structured to transition individuals and families from the burden of poverty to independent living and include the following:

  1. Emergency Resources Program - we provide food, furniture, budgeting assistance, toiletries, household items and referrals to other agencies.
  2. Weekend Meals Program - We provide noontime hot meals to anyone who is hungry each Saturday and Sunday of the year. The consistency of this program is very comforting to many of our clients.
  3. Family Services Program/Bethany - We provide short term transitional housing for homeless families. Families are welcome to stay in one of our housing units for up to 4 months while they  work with a case manager to gain stable housing.
On Average, each month ECHO provides about 12,000 food items, 75 pieces of  furniture, 1000 household items (soap, silverware, bed linens), 50 packs of diapers, 1000 articles of clothing, serve 800 hot meals, house homeless families, and countless other services.
The primary challenge and what especially breaks my heart is when individuals and families are turned away because of lack of funds or resources. In fact, we have estimated that up to 20% requests to ECHO last year were not honored because of the lack of resources. This year, we have begun a new fundraising initiative to reach out to a wider segment of people and we trust this will provide the resources to reduce the number of those whose needs are not met at ECHO.
Personally, serving as the president of ECHO completes my joy as this organization does exactly what needs to be done, in providing a hand up and not a hand down. About 2 years ago, the Burrows family came to Tallahassee to join an immediate family member but discovered that was no longer possible. After reviewing their case, ECHO provided housing, basic daily needs for mother and children and arranged for school for the children. With counselling and various other administrative support, I can report that the Burrows family is no longer under ECHO's care and has been living on their own for over 2 years now. This is what ECHO is all about and who wouldn't want to work for this organization? We are looking for volunteers and supporters and will welcome anyone who will join our course to serve those less fortunate; for in as far as we do so for the least of one of these, we have done it  for Him.
CEO Statement/Executive Director Statement
Thank you for your interest in ECHO. As the Director of ECHO for the past 4 years, I consider it an honor to serve our community by providing essential services for our neighbors in need. I have always agreed with the motto “Think globally, act locally”. That is exactly how each one of us can make a difference.
As the media shares stories of hunger throughout the world and the daily struggles faced by homeless families, we are all touched and want to do something to help. The irony is that those situations are happening each day in our local community. By providing for them, we are not only helping individuals but also strengthening and investing in our Tallahassee.
Because we are a local agency we can quickly change as the needs change. For instance, we realized that many of our homeless and unemployed could not move forward because of the lack of government issued identification. It had either been lost or stolen and without that they are unable to gain employment. So we now purchase birth certificates from all 50 states for clients.
Toni Tran, the woman who started ECHO 31 years ago, chose the organization’s name because she believed that those who have been helped in the past will in turn help others – and that is exactly what we have seen. Neighbors who were clients at one time are now volunteering to help others get back on their feet. For me, that is the perfect definition of “community”. May the Lord bless you and your family, Marta Arrington.
ERP provides the basics for individuals experiencing poverty, homelessness, or a temporary crisis. Each individual who comes to ECHO for assistance meets with a counselor to determine the immediate need. Clients can receive food, diapers, assistance in obtaining identification, furniture, household goods, bus passes and other basic items. 
During their first visit the counselor determines the factors leading up to the current emergency situation. The goal for the initial visit is to determine if, with some assistance, the client is capable of achieving a higher level of self sufficiency. If so, the counselor and the client agree upon goals to be met prior to receiving future assistance from ECHO. Examples include writing a resume and creating and adhering to a household budget.
If there are barriers that prevent advancement, a client is eligible for future services up to 3 times a year. With volunteers from Bethel Missionary Baptist Church and First Presbyterian Church, we also provide a hot noon day meal each Saturday and Sunday for anyone who is hungry in the Downtown Tallahassee area through our Weekend Meals Program.
Budget $170,000.00
Category Human Services, General/Other Emergency Assistance
Population Served At-Risk Populations, Families, Poor,Economically Disadvantaged,Indigent
Short Term Success Clients immediate food and clothing needs are met. Goals to attain self-sufficiency are established as a prerequisite for future services.
Long term Success
We measure our success in two distinctly different methods within this program:
-For our clients who, for mental or physical reasons, are unable to achieve a higher level of self-sufficiency, we measure success by their ability to maintain a healthy life style.
-For clients who are in our “Path Forward” program, we measure their success by the number of self sufficiency goals achieved between visits. These goals could be creating and managing a household budget or writing a resume to assist in gaining employment.
Even longer term goals are achieved and celebrated when clients receive and maintain employment. Ultimately our success is achieved when these clients are no longer in need of our services.
Program Success Monitored By
Within our "Path Forward" program - we monitor the goals and the higher level of self-sufficiency displayed in future visits. The ultimate goal would be for our clients to become completely self-sufficient, and not need our services.  But the reason some clients do not return for future services is very difficult to measure. Regarding our clients who are unable to achieve a higher level of self-sufficiency, we measure our success by their ability to maintain their current standard of living. 
Regarding our weekend meals program, we simply measure the number of individuals who attend each weekend.
Examples of Program Success
In April 2014, a 24 year-old black female that was homeless came in seeking assistance with food and employment. Client stated that she was living with an unknown male who forced her to engage in sexual activity in exchange for a place to stay. Client had several job interviews lined up, but needed business attire for the upcoming interview. Making a long story short, utilizing our other non-profit partners, we were able to move her into HOPE Community and also link her with Dress for Success.
In June 2014 she came back seeking assistance with furniture and stated that she was now employed by the State of Florida and living completely independently. In December 2014 she came into ECHO and told us she wouldn't be alive if it weren't for the services we provided to her. It is so rewarding to know that ECHO services were able to get this young lady off the streets and on the road to self-sufficiency.
The purpose of the Family Services Program (also known as Bethany House at Westgate) is to provide safe, secure, temporary housing for homeless families with young children while putting them on a path leading to employment, stabilized housing and ultimately self-sufficiency. The Bethany House is a boarding style home with 11 private living spaces. The home also has a large commercial style kitchen and living/meeting are area for gatherings and classes.
While they stay with us, we strive to give each parent the necessary skills and knowledge to move toward financial independence, permanent housing, and educational stability for the children. Parents are required to attend biweekly life skills classes and follow strict house rules and curfews. While the parents are in class, a Leon County teacher tutors the school age children.
Category Housing, General/Other Emergency Shelter
Population Served Poor,Economically Disadvantaged,Indigent, Unemployed, Underemployed, Dislocated, Families
Short Term Success We measure short term success by the amount of educational classes provided to the parents and the amount of tutoring classes provided to our clients. Each school age child is provided two tutoring sessions each week and each parent is required to attend two hour long educational classes each week.
Long term Success Long term success is measured by the number of families who exit our program into permanent housing, and remain in that stable living arrangement for over one year. Our rate of success, utilizing that definition, is 70%.
Program Success Monitored By
Because we receive funding for this program from various sources including local and federal agencies, we are required to provide quarterly reports which include: the number of individuals served, the number of classes and tutoring sessions held as well as the long term success rates.  These figures are taken from our database and confirmed by case files and follow up sessions with past clients.
The Renaissance Community Center opened in March 2012. The purpose of the center is to minimize both the number of homeless individuals and families in our community and the affects of homelessness on each person. An old warehouse directly behind the Cold Night Shelter on Tennessee St. was purchased and renovated. Five days a week, the center offers short term assistance such as showers, laundry service, and stores personal belongings for the homeless.
But even more important, it is operating as a “one stop shop” for human services in this community. We have staff from 26 different area non-profits using the center as a satellite office for the services that their agency provides. Because of the non-profit participation, clients currently receive assistance with employment, housing, medical and dental services as well as GED classes and employment ready classes. The list of non-profits involved grows every day.
Budget $125,000.00
Category Human Services, General/Other Emergency Assistance
Population Served Unemployed, Underemployed, Dislocated, At-Risk Populations, Poor,Economically Disadvantaged,Indigent
Short Term Success As stated above, we opened the center in March of this year. Since we opened we have been recording our output statistics and have begun recording “success stories”. We are currently examining that information and creating our outcome measures, i.e. our metrics to measure our success. We did know that when we first opened we were averaging 3- 35 clients a day. Currently we assist approximately 140 individuals experiencing homelessness each day.
Long term Success Because the center has only been open for 8 months and it is unique in its design, we do not have any long term success statistics. We are currently reviewing the output measures we collect (i.e. the number of clients, the number of service providers, etc.) to determine the most accurate and achievable success measurements.
Program Success Monitored By
The Center is managed by both Catholic Charities and ECHO. In addition, we have an advisory board made up of representatives of the non-profit providing services at the center. The board and other interested parties meet for lunch one day each week to share successes and discuss options to improve our services.
Because of that unique management structure, we are able to continually monitor our progress and implement changes as needed.  In addition to this, we collect data on each client that enters the center, and the services they requested and received. The non-profit representatives also provide us with outcome information regarding the clients they served while working at the community center. All this information is input and managed by the Services Coordinator at the center and reported at each advisory board meeting.
Examples of Program Success
A family was attempting to move to South Florida because of a job opportunity. Their vehicle made it as far as Tallahassee. Stranded with no money they visited the Community Center. We provided them with a shower, and we worked together with other non-profits to fix their car, provide them with food and send them on their way.
A gentleman has been staying at the Cold Night Shelter for several years. Because of traumatic situations throughout his life, he is unable to trust anyone or work to become more self-sufficient. It took 2 months for him to enter the Center and ask to take a shower. He slowly began talking with one of our housing providers and possibly with the help of a counselor at the Center, he will be able to work toward a permanent home.
One of these examples shows how quickly our team of non-profits can solve a short term situation. The other demonstrates how the consistent presence coupled with a caring spirit can begin to make a difference.
Program Comments
CEO Statement/Executive Director/Board Comments

I am very fortunate to witness lives being changed and families strengthened because of your support and generosity. Whether we are providing 3 days worth of food so that a family can make it to the next pay day or providing housing for a single mom so she can concentrate on finding a job – each family and individual is valued. We attempt to meet each client where they are and provide both short term and long term assistance to improve their level of self-sufficiency. 

It is my opinion that our biggest challenges lie within our housing program. Many of our clients come to us with little or no experience with positive parenting skills or employment experience. Providing this information and teaching the clients why this is so important is an ongoing struggle. 
Board Chair
Board Chair Mr. Seth Ablordeppey
Company Affiliation Florida A&M
Term Oct 2014 to Sept 2015
Email seth.ablordeppey@famu.edu
Board Co-Chair
Board CoChair Mr. Sean Doughtie
Company Affiliation Taproot Creative
Term Oct 2014 to Sept 2015
Email sean@taprootcreative.com
Board Members
Mr. Seth Y. Ablordeppey Florida A&M University
Mr. Nathan Adams Holland and Knight attorney
Mrs. Stephanie Derzypolski Tallahassee Memorial Healthcare
Mr. Sean Doughtie Taproot Creative
Mrs. Barbara Ehlmann Community Volunteer
Mr. Keith Gaskins Gaskin Coating
Mr. James Harrison Transit Shelters, Inc
Chip Hartung Coldwell Banker Hartung and Noblin Realty
Board Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 1
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 7
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0 0
Board Demographics - Gender
Male 6
Female 2
Unspecified 0
Board Term Lengths 3
Board Term Limits 2
Board Meeting Attendance % 71%
Written Board Selection Criteria? Yes
Written Conflict of Interest Policy? No
Percentage Making Monetary Contributions 100%
Percentage Making In-Kind Contributions 100%
Constituency Includes Client Representation No
Number of Full Board Meetings Annually 10
Standing Committees
Community Outreach / Community Relations
Special Events (Golf Tournament, Walk / Run, Silent Auction, Dinner / Gala)
Board Governance
CEO Comments 33 years ago when Ms. Tran started ECHO it was supported by downtown churches and was truly a christian ministry. Through the years ECHO has become a more secular agency losing some of it's ability to effect lives by sharing the love of Jesus. Our current board is attempting to our agency back to it's roots of being a full service christian ministry.
Executive Director/CEO
Executive Director Freddy Branham
Term Start Mar 2010
Email FBranham@echotally.org
Experience Worked for State of Florida 31 years- 14 years include management. The last 11 years, Ms. Arrington was the Division Director of the Consumer Arm of the FL Department of Financial Services. In that capacity, she supervised 200+ employees, moved the Division from a paper intensive consumer complaint system to an electronic case management system. Each year the Division received over 400,000 phone calls in the call center, and assisted over 50,000 consumers in resolving a complaint against their insurance company.
Former CEOs
Peter Counterman Aug 2004 - Feb 2009
Hurbert Roberts Mar 2009 - Mar 2010
Senior Staff
Title Warehouse Manager
Title Emergency Resources Program Director
Title Family Services Program Director
Full Time Staff 6
Part Time Staff 3
Volunteers 15
Contractors 1
Retention Rate 85%
Formal Evaluations
CEO Formal Evaluation No
CEO/Executive Formal Evaluation Frequency N/A
Senior Management Formal Evaluation Yes
Senior Management Formal Evaluation Frequency Annually
NonManagement Formal Evaluation Yes
Non Management Formal Evaluation Frequency Annually
CEO Comments
Plans & Policies
Organization has a Fundraising Plan? Under Development
Organization has a Strategic Plan? Yes
Years Strategic Plan Considers N/A
Management Succession Plan? Under Development
Organization Policy and Procedures Yes
Nondiscrimination Policy Yes
Whistleblower Policy Yes
Document Destruction Policy Yes
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy Yes
ECHO staff and management continually work with other nonprofits providing for our neighbors in need. Some of the agencies we work with on a regular basis include: The Shelter, Good Samaritan Network, Ability First, Department of Veteran Affairs, American Red Cross Second Harvest of the Big Bend and Goodwill. The Executive Director is also a board member the United Way of the Big Bend and a board member of the United Partners for Human Services.
Fiscal Year
Fiscal Year Start Oct 01 2014
Fiscal Year End Sept 30 2015
Projected Revenue $501,000.00
Projected Expenses $494,000.00
Endowment Value $11,000.00
Spending Policy Percentage
Percentage (if selected) 4%
Form 990s
Audit or In-House Financial Documents
IRS Letter of Dtermination
Detailed Financials
Revenue SourcesHelpThe financial analysis involves a comparison of the IRS Form 990 and the audit report (when available) and revenue sources may not sum to total based on reconciliation differences. Revenue from foundations and corporations may include individual contributions when not itemized separately.
Fiscal Year201320122011
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
Government Contributions$245,089$228,187$173,635
Individual Contributions--$248,659$205,475
Investment Income, Net of Losses$1,057$5,014$5,974
Membership Dues$0----
Special Events$0----
Revenue In-Kind$23,064$39,901$13,333
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201320122011
Program Expense$507,418$508,778$467,502
Administration Expense$75,134$58,847$55,809
Fundraising Expense$0$13,938$11,997
Payments to Affiliates------
Total Revenue/Total Expenses0.940.950.83
Program Expense/Total Expenses87%87%87%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue0%3%3%
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201320122011
Total Assets$932,588$958,666$995,163
Current Assets$319,598$323,184$351,117
Long-Term Liabilities$151,966$34,445$47,779
Current Liabilities$28,234$151,369$143,065
Total Net Assets$752,388$772,852$804,319
Short Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201320122011
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities11.322.142.45
Long Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201320122011
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets16%4%5%
Capital Campaign
Currently in a Capital Campaign? Yes
Campaign Purpose Fund raising and purchase of new building.
Goal $120,000.00
Dates Dec 2014 to Dec 2016
Amount Raised To Date 10000 as of 2014
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years? Yes
Organization Comments
ECHO's ministry is growing and meeting more needs every year. We are actively looking for a more visible, more accessible location for our warehouse to accommodate the furniture we are blessed to receive to pass along to those in need. Like other local non-profits, we continue to provide for more of our neighbors who are hurting because of our economic climate and rely very heavily on the support of our local businesses, churches and individuals.
Foundation Comments
  • Financial figures were taken from the audit for years 2011 and 2012.
  • Financial figures were taken automatically from the 990 for year 2013.
  • Contributions from foundations and corporations are included with total for individuals, as they are not separated in the audit or 990.
  • Top 3 funding sources are not reflected above as they are not indicated in the audit or 990.
  • ECHO has an endowment at the Community Foundation.
Additional Documents
State Charitable Solicitations Permit
Nonprofit Emergency Care Help Organization (ECHO)
Address 1707 S. Gadsden Street
Tallahassee, FL 32301
Primary Phone 850 224-3246
Donate to Endowment Fund at Community Foundation http://www.cfnf.org/index.cfm?p=ways-to-give
Contact Email FBranham@echotally.org
CEO/Executive Director Freddy Branham
Board Chair Mr. Seth Ablordeppey
Board Chair Company Affiliation Florida A&M
Year of Incorporation 1984