We had the good fortune of connecting with Ana Serrano and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ana, what’s one piece of conventional advice that you disagree with?
As a nonprofit, it is always recommended to seek out grants. But, getting grants is not easy, and most grants, especially government grants are very restrictive as to who can be served and helped and what services can be provided, Also, there is no guarantee that a grant will be awarded to the nonprofit. Also when a nonprofit only relies on grants for funding, it limits what can be done and who can be served, and if the funds are not used as outlined in the grant, the funder can take back the funds given to the nonprofit. This is why I run my nonprofit like a business because a nonprofit is after all a business with the added advantage of being able to fundraise and obtain grants. Also, I am able to help and serve whoever walks into my door, I am able to expand and add services without having to ask permission from a funder. I also have the ability to interact with the business community and obtain donors for my nonprofit. I believe there is more opportunity for nonprofits when they think outside the box and don’t just rely on grants, because otherwise the nonprofit is limited in the types of funds it can obtain. but if the nonprofit runs like a business then the possibilities are endless.
What should our readers know about your business?
God’s Heart Ministry/Las Valientes is dedicated to helping abused women come out of domestic violence through the legal system. The nonprofit has been in business since May 2001, and since we first opened our doors there have been many women who have been helped as a result of the services we provide. We have helped women obtain restraining orders, divorce, custody of their children, and child support. We also work with an immigration attorney who gives free consults to clients who qualify for their legal documents, and charges a fair price should his services be retained. What sets us apart from other nonprofits? First, we are not dependent on grants, we are able to help whoever walks into our office no matter who they are. We have helped both men and women with their legal issues and countless women leave their abusive relationship. I am most proud that we are still in operation and on May 5, 2021, we will celebrate 20 years of service to the community. To celebrate this momentous occasion we will be giving 15 women who came out of domestic violence, did something great with their lives, but never had their quinceanera, a quinceanera. It will be a grand event to celebrate our anniversary, and I am hoping to make this a yearly celebration to celebrate the women who choose to leave their abusive relationships. Business-wise, I learned a lot of hard lessons, for example, to get back up after a fall and not let that fall keep me down. I also learned that I need to be careful who I trust and who I hire because not everyone believes in your vision and mission, and not everyone comes alongside to help you. I learned it is important to have wisdom and discernment, and most of all I learned the importance of relying on God and seeking his direction for the nonprofit. What I want the world to know about Gods Heart Ministry/Las Valientes is that this nonprofit/ministry was born out of my life’s experience as an abused woman, so I understand my clients because I have walked in their shoes. I understand why they stay and why they leave. I understand their fears and what will help them make the decision to leave the abusive relationship because I have walked in their shoes. Leaving is not easy, but not impossible, and I want abused women to know that I could leave then so can they and we are here to help them when they are ready to leave.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Well this is difficult to answer since we are experiencing a pandemic. But if things were normal and everything was open I would take my friend to Disney Land one day, Lego Land the next day, and SeaWorld the day after that. I would also take my friend to my favorite taco shop Mrs. Taco, my friend Maria is the owner and she makes the best Mexican food ever. I would also take my friend to my mom’s house because I know my mom would spoil her and take her to experience the swap meet which is an adventure all in itself.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
First above everyone I need to recognize and give a shoutout to God because without God this nonprofit would not exist. There have been many people along the way who have helped me with the nonprofit, Early in my nonprofit career I had a business coach; Bob taught me how to do my minute commercial which proved to be so invaluable, so when I attend networking meetings, business’s would want to donate to the nonprofit and refer clients to us. I also want to give a shout-out to the staff who has worked with me so tirelessly, but especially my right hand Leticia who has been with me for the past 9 years. I would also like to thank all the attorneys who have taught me the in’s and out’s of family law and those who have served on my board of directors and helped me make decisions small and large. There is one attorney, especially who I would like to give a shoutout to and that is Roger who was the first attorney to teach me all I know and all I didn’t want to know about family law. Finally, I want to thank my accountant Adele who has helped me with the financial aspects of the nonprofit and made sure we were always in the black. There are many, many who have helped me along the way but I would need a book to name all of them.
These are the marketing cards we provide to the community so they know the services we provide.