Thank you for joining our mission to improve lives today and for generations to come. As I look back on the last year, I am proud of our accomplishments and energized by the momentum we are building.
Wilder continues to make great strides in our work to create lasting, positive change for whole families. Our mental health area is growing and evolving to meet the needs of our community. In the past year, we reduced the average wait time for a first clinical appointment from 20 days to less than 10 and increased the number of people returning after a first visit. We are providing more services to more people, and doing so in a timelier manner.
Last fall, 1,200 volunteers conducted interviews with people experiencing homelessness for the Minnesota Homeless Study. Wilder Research has conducted this one-night count every three years since 1991. The study gathers data and insights that are instrumental in shaping policies and other responses to help families stabilize and move from poverty to prosperity.
In June, the Community Equity Program graduated 16 leaders, its largest group to date. The program supports black, Indigenous and people of color to influence and enact public policy at the Minnesota Capitol. Wilder also launched the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Collaborative to support executive leaders across the Twin Cities in creating diverse, inclusive workplaces. We look forward to more opportunities to express our core belief that diversity makes organizations and communities stronger.
Our accomplishments were possible thanks to the contributions of supporters and volunteers, the commitment of staff, and the leadership of the Board and President and CEO MayKao Y. Hang. This year MayKao answered a new call to serve as Vice President and Inaugural Dean of the College of Health at the University of St. Thomas. She has been an exceptional leader for Wilder, guiding the organization with optimism and challenging us to do everything we can to help families thrive. I know she will continue to be a force for change in the community and a close friend to Wilder. Because of MayKao’s leadership, our organization is prepared to face the future with confidence and courage. We look forward to bringing on a new president and CEO to propel Wilder forward.
On behalf of the Wilder Board of Directors, thank you for your support. I hope that the stories in this report make you proud of what we have accomplished together. I look forward to what is ahead as we work to ensure the lasting stability and well-being of families and communities.