VEJ's board will soon start the search for the organization's third executive director.
This comes after current executive director BT Irwin announced that he will step down at the end of this year.
"From Day One, I told our board that I would 'set the table' for someone far more capable and qualified than me to lead an Earth justice mission like this one," said Irwin. "After four years, I believe things are in place for that change of leadership to happen now."
Irwin joined VEJ in September 2017 and succeeded founder Patty Gillis, who served as executive director from 2002 until her retirement in 2017.
VEJ's next executive director will take the lead at a time of great change and opportunity.
VEJ has the biggest and still-growing community of donors, program participants, subscribers, and volunteers in its history.
"When you're on a mission like VEJ, it helps to have a growing community of friends and neighbors who come from all walks of life," said Irwin. "If we're going to make real progress for Earth justice, this community is the key."
While VEJ remains a very small nonprofit organization, it is stable and well-positioned for growth and sustained operations.
"We now have a base of loyal donors and volunteers, name recognition in the foundation community, regular programming that is growing in popularity, and an unusually strong financial position for a nonprofit our size," said Irwin. "By the end of 2021, we will also completed a lot of work on Hope House & Garden, getting it in the best shape that it's been since we bought it ten years ago."
Irwin added that a much larger, more active, more diverse board than VEJ had four years ago positions the organization to be more creative and responsive while also being stable and sustainable.
Finally, Irwin said the ongoing Hope Park Project will give VEJ a clear picture of its future, with greater focus on community development and education in northwest Detroit.
"The table is set for someone to apply her or his love for Detroit, Earth justice, and interfaith work to mobilize VEJ's community to do more than ever before," said Irwin. "I can't think of a better way for VEJ to mark its 20th year than by starting a new decade in which it will make its greatest impact."
VEJ's board will soon post the opening and will aim to make a hire by November.
"The plan is for the new executive director and I to overlap for two months," said Irwin. "This will give me a chance to transfer all of my knowledge and relationships to her or him. It will also give the VEJ community a chance to know the new person who will be leading and serving this mission."
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