March 8, 2017
For the past 22 years, I have had the honor of walking up Leavenworth Street every day into the heart of the Tenderloin and through the doors of the most incredible organization I have ever known. Hospitality House stole my heart the day I walked in, and I have spent half of my life here.
So it is with a very heavy heart that I announce my departure from Hospitality House and from the Bay Area, the place I have called home for more than two decades. On March 23, my family will relocate to Chapel Hill, North Carolina where I will lead another nonprofit focused on poverty and homelessness. This move will provide more affordability and stability for our family of five, and it will bring us closer to our extended family.
As you can imagine, this is one of the most difficult decisions I have ever made. Hospitality House and I have had a remarkable journey. We’ve had our struggles and our growing pains. We’ve loved each other passionately, and we’ve wanted to give up at times, too. It was here that I made my first public testimony at City Hall, wrote my first grant, developed my first budget, and supervised my first staff team. It was Hospitality House that taught me the true meaning of social justice and showed me the power of community.
As I prepare for my departure, Hospitality House’s Board of Directors, led by Board President Jeanie Bunker, has launched a search for Hospitality House’s new Executive Director. The position is posted on our website. The Board welcomes your support in identifying potential candidates and helping them find the organization’s next leader. In the meantime, Allan Manalo, our Director of Development, will serve as Interim Executive Director with the support of the rest of the organization’s Directors Team.
It is an exciting time to be a part of Hospitality House! As the organization turns 50 years old this year, our dedicated Board, talented leadership team, and committed staff are stronger than ever. Our newly-adopted Theory of Change provides a solid strategic direction while offering opportunities for innovation. Our advocacy work is as active as ever in partnership with the various coalitions we have co-founded, nurtured, and grown over the past several years.
I want to extend my sincere gratitude to all of you for what you have done, and continue to do, for and with Hospitality House – as supporters, donors, community partners, volunteers, staff, and program participants. It takes a community to keep the House going, and I deeply appreciate the roles you all have played to sustain our critical work. As we face threats to our democracy more terrifying with each passing day, the work we’ve all dedicated our lives to is as important as ever.
As I bid farewell to you, my beloved community, I know this isn’t really goodbye. I will always hold Hospitality House and this community in my heart, and I will stay connected. Thank you all for being on this journey with me, for teaching and mentoring me, for supporting me during the difficult times, and for helping me become a better person. Let us not be strangers. Our work continues, only in a different way.
In Love and Community,