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BIA to honor Waypoint’s 172 years of helping state residents

Borja Alvarez de Toledo, president & CEO of Waypoint, says it’s an honor and privilege and also a responsibility to lead the

BIA to honor Waypoint’s 172 years of helping state residents

Nonprofit to receive New Hampshire Advantage Award

CONCORD — The Business and Industry Association will honor Waypoint for 172 years of helping New Hampshire residents.

Waypoint will receive the 2022 New Hampshire Advantage Award, which celebrates businesses, organizations or projects that enhance the Granite State’s special character and quality of life in meaningful ways. The private, nonprofit agency serves an average of 8,000 people a year from 16 sites across the state. Services range from prenatal care to home healthcare, a lifeline across the lifespan, as it states. It also provides services for children with developmental or medical conditions, mental health counseling, parent education and family strengthening services, assistance to unhoused youth, and more.

Waypoint will be honored at BIA’s 109th Annual Dinner and Awards Celebration, presented by Eversource, Wednesday, Oct. 26 at the DoubleTree by Hilton in Manchester. Dr. Susan Huard, Fred Kocher and Dick Samuels will receive BIA’s Lifetime Achievement Awards at the dinner. The celebration starts with a networking reception from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m., followed by dinner and awards ceremony.

Founded in 1850 as the Manchester City Missionary Society, Waypoint is the oldest human service/children’s charitable organization in New Hampshire. Several mergers led the agency to be renamed Child and Family Services before evolving again in 2018 to become Waypoint, which means a point along a journey at which you change course.

“It’s an honor and privilege and also a responsibility,” President & CEO Borja Alvarez de Toledo said of leading the agency. “Waypoint was really conceived to evolve and change to meet the needs of what we perceive as gaps in the system.”

Waypoint’s success in helping underserved and underrepresented families in three different centuries is driven by staying connected, Alvarez de Toledo said. “We provide services in the home and community. Less than 5% of our services are provided in the office. Our advocacy and partnership with the state and fellow providers, as well as with the people we serve, keeps us well-informed about the changing needs of families.”

COVID-19 made it more difficult to provide in-home visits. Elderly clients had elevated risk for serious illness and death from COVID and Waypoint suddenly needed personal protective equipment.

“In most cases, we were really the only people in their lives to provide activities of daily living to allow them to remain independent,” Alvarez de Toledo said. “We did a lot of advocacy for being a group that needed PPE.”

Waypoint is the state’s largest provider of services for unhoused youth and its outreach was also curbed.

“We found more youth were unhoused because of the pandemic,” he said. “We had more difficulties reaching out to them. Most don’t have a data plan and rely on public spaces. We were able to purchase phones and plans to continue to serve those youth.”

Waypoint’s pivots included getting state approval to offer telehealth and remote services. “That was really positive and something that has stayed,” Alvarez de Toledo said.

New Hampshire’s worker shortage has created challenges and opportunities. Waypoint is focused on staff retention, promoting from within and keeping employees satisfied and engaged. It now incorporates remote work and flexible schedules. Both, Alvarez de Toledo said, are here to stay.

“It’s made us a better organization,” he said.

But inflation is taking its toll.

“Our contracts’ rates of reimbursement don’t change because of inflation,” he said. “We have to make up the difference if we want to raise compensation for our staff and that’s really challenging. Social work is critically important in lives and communities, and the work is really complex. We believe social workers, like teachers, deserve fair wages.”

Waypoint’s funding includes local, state and federal and contracts, United Way support, special events, foundation grants and philanthropy. Fundraising is ever more important. Alvarez de Toledo said $2.18 million, or 14% of Waypoint’s budget, was fundraised in 2020. “It’s a little scary,” he said.

Rising costs and funding struggles made Waypoint, like many nonprofits, more entrepreneurial. Its annual “SleepOut” exemplifies this. Participants spend a March night outside in Manchester and Rochester to support Waypoint’s efforts to help unhoused youth. The 2022 event, held in hybrid fashion, raised over $320,000. Eight SleepOuts have collectively raised more than $2.1 million.

“Peer-to-peer fundraising is really effective,” Alvarez de Toledo said. “Once you’ve participated in the SleepOut you’re not going to forget it. It’s very powerful.”

He said the event’s success allows Waypoint to expand services to unhoused youth. This fall, the agency will open the first shelter of its kind for youth and young adults in New Hampshire, on Hanover Street in Manchester. It’s also expanding programs in the Seacoast and Concord.

Expansion comes at cost, though, as government contracts don’t cover the cost of Waypoint’s services. “As we grow, we need to increase our fundraising,” he said.

Alvarez de Toledo maintains that reactive programs are far more expensive than proactive ones. New Hampshire, he said, historically has not appropriately funded prevention, but more government leaders now understand the need to invest in prevention to reduce reliance on services.                      

“It’s really the way to go,” he said. “There’s significant movement and it’s really exciting to see the pendulum shifting from reactive to proactive, but it takes convincing a lot of people.”

The 2021 New Hampshire Advantage Award winner was New Hampshire Business Committee for the Arts. For a list of past winners, visit

To purchase tickets for BIA’s Annual Dinner, visit For sponsorship opportunities, email Lora McMahon.

Rick Fabrizio is director of communications for the BIA, New Hampshire's statewide chamber of commerce and leading business advocate.

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