On Growth and Change

Tuesday, December 17, 2019 - 19:00
CEO Paul Vandeventer speaks at the podium on stage at the California Endowment's Yosemite Room, addressing approx. 200 holiday party attendees

I shared some big news at our recent annual gathering that I’d like also to share with those of you not with us last week.

For almost 30 years now, Community Partners has been like a part of my DNA. If you’re a founder yourself, you most certainly know what that’s like. But at this point in my life, and at this very robust point in the life of Community Partners, I feel confident that now is the time to make room for new leadership.

Now, I’m not going anywhere right away. But, as a part of our strategic planning process that began a few months ago, the board has formed a search committee to plan – with great intentionality and forethought – for me to step down from my position as CEO in about 18-24 months.

This will be a momentous new chapter for Community Partners, and we want you to feel confident and informed.

Personally, I believe this is indeed a time for celebration. We hit the ankle on our growth graph for Community Partners around 2011. Since then, we have grown by a factor of 400 percent from $13 million in total project and operating revenues to $57 million last year. But revenues are a very dry measure of the success in which we all share. Our reputation is solid, our staff is superb, our services have improved exponentially, our finances and operating surpluses are strong, and the sophistication and impact on human lives brought about by our sponsored project leaders and civic intermediary partners, remain extraordinary.

With all of those assets in place, the board and I believe that now is the time to begin a process that will result in fresh leadership and new perspective for the decades ahead. We are approaching a peak of unparalleled accomplishment and that’s a great time to place executive leadership in new hands, new minds and new hearts.

The search committee will benefit from the leadership of board member and Treasurer Chris Kearley. The committee members have already convened and desire as transparent a process as possible.

Naturally, a great deal of work remains to be done in the time between now and when a new CEO is in place. I assure you that I remain as committed to this work until then and to fulfilling my role as vigorously as I did in our earliest days, when what we’ve accomplished today was just a vision and an aspiration.

My senior team and our entire staff and board promise to keep our level of service high and responsive to your needs and expectations. Community Partners remains in great and capable governance hands as Ange-Marie Hancock Alfaro passes the board chair's gavel to Perry Parks on January 1.

Thank you for your support and for continuing to be the lifeblood of our mission and of this place – Southern California – that we love.

Together, we will move ahead into a bright, challenging and fruitful future.

Thank you.