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Client Spotlight: Gentle Lion

Client Spotlight

At Foundation Group, we know how incredible our clients are and how hard they work to accomplish their respective exempt purpose. Gentle Lion is no exception to this across their many years of operation. So, we want to shine a light on their organization and the work they’ve accomplished thus far. To do so, we have asked them a series of questions and have relayed their answers below in their own words.

Basic Information

Name of Organization: Gentle Lion

Organization’s Location: Bend, Oregon, USA

Name of Executive Director/CEO/President: Lamont D. Boileau, Jr. (AKA Major B)

Incorporation Date: October 14, 2016

IRS 501(c)(3) Determination Date: May 6, 2019

Nonprofit’s Purpose: Gentle Lion is a faith based pro-family, patriotic organization helping men, women, and children live rich, full, meaningful lives. Our top priority is to help men understand their mantle of responsibility, creating better husbands, better fathers, and stronger families. Gentle Lion is designed to address the fatherhood crisis in our nation. We focus on helping men discover the best sustainable version of himself. The residual benefit: a family who bask in his unconditional love of a “servant leader.”

Organization Website: gentlelion.org

1. Why did you choose Foundation Group to outsource your compliance needs?

Gentle Lion selected the Foundation Group to meet our compliance needs when I was researching compliance issues on the internet and came across the Foundation Group website. Upon further investigation of the website and a thorough review of the articles written by your CEO, Greg McRay, it appeared to me, Gentle Lion’s Executive Director, that Gentle Lion could potentially be the “Poster Boy” on how to do everything wrong as a startup nonprofit! After a phone call between Greg and I, it was clear we could correct our issues and make an appropriate application as a 501(c)(3) Private Foundation. The Foundation Group has been essential in helping us keep our compass on “True North,” so we remain in compliance and don’t jeopardize the integrity of our organization. I wouldn’t perform brain surgery on myself; I would want the best doctor around. Accordingly, a person shouldn’t attempt setting up a nonprofit by themselves; they need a duty expert from the start, and the Foundation Group has been the professionals we’ve counted on!

2. What was the reason you decided to start your nonprofit organization?

As a formerly approved treatment provider for Deschutes County Circuit Court, Bend, Oregon, my case load was heavily comprised of men whose cases were being adjudicated through the court and mandated treatment was required; domestic violence, anger, stress management, and sex offenders were the norm. Over the years I’ve found that most people have an inordinate capacity to blame circumstances or others for their misfortune and a limited ability to take responsibility for themselves. This was a common theme with the majority of men I worked with.

Yet, by the time they’d completed treatment, the question from participants that they asked me time and time again was, “why don’t they teach this stuff before you get in trouble; why don’t they make these types of classes mandatory in school?”

After hearing this for years, God put it on my heart to get the prescription to the patient before they got sick! Create pro-active classes that truly help men understand what it really means to be a man, and do it for FREE! No costs are associated with any of our programs!

Through our Gentle Lion curriculum, men wake up, clean up, and show up to be a man who understands what it means to take 100% responsibility for his life!

3. How long has your nonprofit been in operation?

Although we initially incorporated with the state of Oregon in 2016, we were not fully operational until February 2017.

4. Tell us more about the work your nonprofit does.

We are a giving Private Foundation that also supports other nonprofits with charitable contributions throughout the year. Additionally, we offer free continuing education classes in parenting, anger stress management, life skills, and individual counseling and referrals upon request. We also have a highly praised “Gentle Lioness” class that empowers women with a healthy voice and clear boundaries, women who walk in the strength of their full femininity. We know that living a life at its fullest is too big of an opportunity to miss, and we, as followers of Jesus, know it’s essential to know Him to life a life at one’s full potential.

5. Describe the most memorable story about, or involving, your nonprofit.

Our most memorable story is when we were invited to bring Gentle Lion Program to the Deer Ridge Correctional Institute, a local prison in Madras, Oregon. On a cold November night, competing with Monday Night Football, 17 inmates showed up out of curiosity to the prison chapel to see who these Gentle Lion guys were. In just barely over a year there were over 200 inmates attending our class and worship! Over 10% of the prison population, with standing room only! It was changing the entire prison culture, men receiving value, hungry for the truth and not defined by what they did but rather by what God has done for them.

6. What has been the toughest thing you've experienced while operating your nonprofit?

The toughest thing was getting final IRS approval as a “stand along” 501(c)(3) Private Foundation. It is essential to have competent professional assistance for the submission of the 1023 application.

7. What has been your nonprofit's biggest achievement thus far? What results has your nonprofit achieved?

Our biggest achievement has been reaching all of the men in our Gentle Lion Ministry on a weekly basis and the residual impact and benefit it has on their families, as we help create servant leaders who are “other centered,” Ambassadors of Jesus, and agents of healing. Sure, we all make mistakes and fall down, and it may be an accident to fall down, but it’s a decision to stay down! Gentle Lions get back up – they’re men, not boys with beards! Men who take responsibility, lead courageously, reject passivity, and invest eternally. Men who give their families the best of their energy and not just the “left overs.” Men who know how to cherish their wife as Christ loved the church, and allow their children to bask in the security of a father’s unconditional love! So goes the family so goes the nation!

8. How did your organization adapt to the Coronavirus? Are you doing virtual events? How will this change how your nonprofit approaches your programs in the coming future?

Covid really impacted us in the prison. It almost shut us down based on the Department of Correction requirements. That said, we have done some Skype calls in the prison, and we have relied heavily on Zoom calls for our weekly Gentle Lion groups and studies. Obviously, not the same as face to face but still maintaining the necessary energy to keep the men “armored” up!

9. What are your organization's goals over the next three to five years?

We’re planning on expanding Gentle Lion programs that create state and regional recognition. One day I hope a young lady will ask a man before she dates him if he is Gentle Lion Certified! Additionally, we plan to complete our prison transition home, The Gentle Lion’s Den, which is a 501(c)(2) to hold real estate as a nonprofit created upon the Foundation Group’s recommendation. We hope to have it filled to capacity as we help men continue the journey from post-prison supervision to returning to their homes and the community as contributing members of society, equipped to be the man worthy of his family’s honor and respect!

10. What advice do you have for someone who just decided to start a nonprofit organization?

Retain the Foundation Group from the start! Greg has forgotten more about nonprofits than most people will ever begin to even know in their lifetimes. I think when it comes to nonprofit rules, regulations, and applications, he levitates small objects in mid-air! Greg is very good at what he does, and is a “duty expert” who provides sage counsel! When needed, the personal touch of being able to talk to Shannon [Director of Compliance] and Greg on the phone directly has put me in the comfort zone more than once. At the Gentle Lion HQ, we know we have the Foundation Group team in direct support so we are able to confidently carry out and accomplish our mission of creating better husbands, better fathers, and stronger families!

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Katie Koenig

After starting as a Client Care Specialist with our Compliance Team, Katie transitioned to Foundation Group's Marketing Team at the beginning of 2020, helping to keep our readers and clients up-to-date on important compliance, best-practice, and informational content critical to their success.

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