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Union Rescue Mission CEO Andrew (Andy) J. Bales, M.A.T.
Andy brings over 26 years of experience in community outreach and service to “his
homeless friends”, as Andy puts it, as he leads Union Rescue Mission into a new era of
unique and innovative services for Los Angeles’ Skid Row community.
Andy’s vision for the future of the Mission is most definitely in keeping with the Union
Rescue Mission’s long and distinguished history of service in the City of Los Angeles.
Established in 1891, the Mission has always served the most desperate men, women and
children of the community.
One of Andy’s earliest challenges as Mission leader was to assist in the developing of
transitional housing for mothers and their children living in the Mission’s downtown
facility and in neighboring SRO hotels in and around Skid Row. He is also committed to
providing permanent supportive housing for senior women away from the mean streets
of Los Angeles. Hope Gardens Family Center, in the foothills of the Angeles National
Forest near Sylmar, was developed to serve this growing population of abandoned
and desperately poor women with children and elderly women. The Senior Women’s
Permanent Supportive Housing facility at Hope Gardens was opened in August 2006.
The Women’s and Children’s Transitional Living Facility opened in late June of 2007.
As CEO of Union Rescue Mission, Andy has had a pivotal role in reshaping hospital and
governmental policies related to “dumping” of homeless patients from hospitals on to the
streets of Skid Row.
Andy’s present focus is organizing and working with community partners to make a
commitment to ending homelessness in Los Angeles by a significant number within the
next 7 – 10 years.
Andy has many awards and honors for his community service, including: being named
as the 930th Point of Light by President George Bush in 1992, receiving the 1999 Des
Moines NAACP Community Service Award, and receiving the 2004 Martin Luther King,
Jr. Award from the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance of Pasadena. He has been
featured in Leadership Journal’s article “Great to Good Churches”, CBS’s 60 Minutes,
NBC’s Dateline, CNN and Social Media, and is a frequent guest speaker at conferences,
schools, and clubs. Rev. Andy’s Blog (www.urmblog.org/category/rev-andys-blog/)
was awarded 1st place for media success by the Association of Gospel Rescue Mission’s
at their annual convention of 350 participating missions world-wide in 2008, 2009,
2010 and 2011. Andy was named the “2011 Fundraising Professional of the Year” by
Fundraising Success Magazine for fundraising achievement in 2010. Andy received the
Los Angeles Business Journal’s award for Nonprofit Leadership Excellence in June 2012.
Andy was named the 2011 Central Area Citizen of the Year by the Council of the City of
Los Angeles at its meeting on March 7, 2012. The Resolution was signed by the Mayor,
each City Council Member, the City Attorney, City Controller and City Clerk.
In June 2009, Cone, Inc. published the Cone Nonprofit Power Brand 100 Report. Union
Rescue Mission was listed in the top 100 brands at #94, ahead of national charities
such as: YWCA, United Cerebral Palsy Association and Camp Fire USA. When you
consider that there are 1.1 million registered non-profits in the U.S., the fact that URM
was listed at #94 is incredible. Andy’s personal participation in embracing social media
opportunities has been credited for the Mission success in receiving this distinction.
Andy and wife Bonnie (a nurse) have six grown children, and delight in their
grandchildren, Elijah and Ava Marie. Also, Andy and Bonnie often open their home to