Dungarvin: Effective April 1, Dave Toeniskoetter has stepped down from the position of Chief Executive Officer of Dungarvin, after eleven years in that job, and 37 years with the organization. Dave has moved into a new, part-time position of Director of Business Development for Dungarvin, in which he expects to continue to be active in ANCOR. Tim Madden, Dungarvin’s co-founder and Chair of the Board of Directors, has stepped back into the position of Chief Executive Officer.
Arc of Greater New Orleans: Cliff Doescher who has been at the Arc of Greater New Orleans for nearly 35 years, 24 of them as its executive director, retired on March 10. He will hand over the title to Dr. Stephen Sauer, a native New Orleanian who has extensive background in the non-profit field, including years of experience working with people with I/DD.
“I have seen so many changes over the years and how we support for people with intellectual disabilities,” Doescher said when asked what the one thing that changed the most in his decades of service was. As he explains, “Today, Arc manages a number of social enterprises, or non-profit businesses, that hire people with disabilities. Our Arc crew members work in jobs where there is a lot of interaction and visibility in the community. Thirty or 40 years ago, people with these types of disabilities were sheltered with little community exposure, so that is one of the biggest changes I witnessed; one of the best changes I’ve witnessed.”
Change is something Doescher had to get used to while serving as executive director. As with many human service organizations, filling gaps in operating budgets and constantly having to deal with funding reductions, can take its toll. Despite what seemed like constant turmoil at times, Doescher says he’s going to miss Arc, more specifically the people at Arc who he has gotten to know over all the years, especially those with disabilities.
“Many have told me I have big shoes to fill,” Sauer says with a laugh and after a short pause he notes, “My response is always the same. I don’t intend to even try. My mission moving forward is to help protect, stabilize and grow the legacy built by Cliff and his team.” Sauer says part of that legacy is how Arc came through its darkest hours a much stronger agency. What Sauer is referring to is Hurricane Katrina. “Cliff is the second founder of Arc, both literally and figuratively. Katrina destroyed or heavily damaged just about everything Arc owned, except for one building in the Uptown area. He took that tragedy and turned it into an opportunity for transformation,” Sauer noted.
Doescher agrees that Katrina and her aftermath was the most difficult situation he’s ever faced. Those in Arc programs were dependent upon the organization’s services, yet Arc employees were scattered about the country. A number of them lost everything themselves, so while he was trying to cobble a staff together, Doescher was also working on repairing buildings and finding homes for staff and Arc participants, going so far as putting FEMA trailers on Arc’s Labarre Road property to house as many people as possible. “Hands down, nothing was more difficult than recovering from Katrina; it was both physically and mentally exhausting. And yet, in many ways, it gave us the opportunity to start with a blank slate, and we took advantage of that opportunity by growing our social enterprises and starting new programs that we may not have launched had it not been for Katrina. One thing is for sure, Katrina showed us what we were made of. I was never so proud of a group of people than I was after Katrina. We stuck together and rebuilt something we all love,” Doescher notes. With his retirement, Cliff is looking forward to doing some extended traveling.
UCP of Washington DC and Northern Virginia: Dawn Carter, Executive Director, has announced she will leave effective June 30. She has been with this agency for nine and a half years. Dawn will work as a consultant to explore service delivery options in Northern Virginia. She has also been teaching as an Adjunct Professor at a local Community College in the School of Psychology and Human Services.
John Straus will take over the Executive Director position effective July 1. He has been currently working part-time though the transition of leadership.
UCP of Land of Lincoln: Brenda Yarnell, CEO, announced her resignation on February 28. Brenda has shared her expertise and social enterprise skills with other UCPs and is known to be a great resource for that network. The agency has started its search for a new CEO and they hope to have a transition by July 1.
UCP of South Florida: As of April 1, the United Cerebral Palsy Association of South Florida will be renamed the United Community Options of South Florida.
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