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Article: Judy Clinco is a Model That Can't Be Replicated

By Forrest Davis
Inside Tucson Business, Influential Leaders

When her mother needed care at home, Judy Clinco responded by creating a company to care for her. Now 25 years later, Catalina-In-Home Services has approximately 75 caregivers helping 80 clients. A successful business, however, is only part of Clinco's vision for Tucson to be the "model healthcare and education community in the nation."

Believing that "everyone has a responsibility to volunteer in a way that is most meaningful for them," she launched the "Live at Home" program for the Old Fort Lowell Neighborhood Association. Volunteers help neighbors with transportation, meals, chores and companionship. She noted with pride that the Fort Lowell program has become a model which is being reproduced throughout Tucson with United Way funding.

In 2000, Clinco brought together local leaders from nursing homes, assisted living centers, hospices and home care companies to form the Direct CareGiver Association (DCGA). The nonprofit organization seeks to alleviate what she describes as "the critical shortage and chronic turnover of professional direct caregivers."

Through her networking and fundraising leadership, DCGA developed a Caregiver Resource Center and Training Institute to "recruit and train an adequate supply of compassionate caregivers." The association has received foundation and donor support as well as job training funds from the city of Tucson. Through collaboration with Goodwill Industries, the program provides job readiness training to economically disadvantaged individuals.

"There's very little training available for lower income people," said Suzanne Lawder, president/CEO of Goodwill Industries of Southern Arizona. "Judy saw a need in the community, labor shortages and created the first step in a career path for disadvantaged people. The DCGA program gives people hope and an income, a place in a field with high demand."

Fran Donnellan, senior executive director for Atria Campana del Rio, added, "She made this association happen. Her grit, to not let it go, was crucial to keeping it alive and getting it established."

Donnellan noted that a big asset for Clinco is that "she's been in business as well as being a community volunteer. As a business owner, she understands the role of small business. Her business experience has taught her how to help the community."

Frequent words in Clinco's vocabulary are "model" and "replicate". Her passion is to "create high quality home care," then "expand the activities" and "replicate" the concept in other areas so more people can have access to services.

She also speaks enthusiastically about "disenfranchised" populations, noting that economically disadvantaged people are often prime prospects to become caregivers. In that respect, both care receivers and care givers are disadvantaged in society, so working with them doubly helps the community.

"It's always about community," she said. "I'm concerned about the rest of the world, but where I can make a difference is in my community."

Clinco has spread her influence beyond Tucson, however, serving on national boards including the National Advisory Board for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's "Better Care Through Better Jobs." She is also a member and past president of Women at the Top.

"She's a human dynamo that just doesn't stop," said Lawder. "She is very dedicated to the community and also to helping people achieve their best."

Expressing admiration for Clinco, Donnellan said, "Tucson is a better place for her being here."