March 27, 2008
By AMANDA BUCK - Bulletin Staff Writer
Harvest Foundation Executive Director Richard Killingsworth resigned, effective Tuesday.
Killingsworth joined the foundation in February 2007 after working as program director for the Ruth Mott Foundation in Flint, Mich. He was hired after a year-long search.
According to a news release from Harvest issued Wednesday, Killingsworth resigned effective Tuesday “to relocate for professional and family reasons.”
Bob Davis, chairman of Harvest’s board of directors, declined to comment on how Killingsworth’s departure came about.
“I’m not going to discuss a personnel matter,” he said. Those “issues are private, and we’re not going there.”
Killingsworth said Wednesday afternoon that he is not yet certain what he will do next or where his family will move. He said he, his wife and their son “more than likely” will return to the Midwest, where they have extended family.
Killingsworth said he would like to be in that region to be closer to his father, who has had some medical problems.
The decision to leave Harvest was “very difficult for many reasons,” he said, citing the organization’s “wonderful” staff and the community itself.
“I think that this opportunity has been a wonderful experience for my family and for me,” he said. Martinsville has “been a terrific community (that) received us well.”
Killingsworth said he did not feel pressure from the board to leave.
Although he has lived here only about a year, he said his family has made strong ties to the area.
“It was a tough decision,” he repeated, “but for our life, family takes priority.”
Davis said it is too soon to talk about looking for someone to fill Killingsworth’s position. Allyson Rothrock, assistant executive director, has been named interim executive director, according to the release.
“I think we’ve got a terrific staff, and we’re prepared to move ahead, and we believe the people that remain can get the job done,” Davis said.
Killingsworth said he is proud of many things Harvest has done during his tenure, including helping strengthen organizations such as Gateway Streetscape and the Martinsville Uptown Revitalization Association through grants.
He also said he “takes great pride” in the $1.56 million grant Harvest awarded to several organizations last year to improve health and quality of life in the area. The groups are working to make the region more pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly.
Davis noted that during Killingsworth’s tenure, 14 grants totaling $6.5 million were awarded to area nonprofit groups.
“Obviously we can’t tell if all the grants are successful at this point” because that takes time, he said, “but we’re very happy with those grants that were made, and they happened under his direction.”
The way grants were announced during Killingsworth’s tenure also seemed to draw more recognition and publicity for the grantees than they previously received, Davis said.
The foundation recently received an award for excellence in communications from the Council on Foundations, the news release notes.
Killingsworth said he has no plans “to pack up and leave” right away and will spend the immediate future focusing on his family and on what he will do next. He resigned effective immediately because “it would not be fair to the foundation or the community to have my attention diverted in different directions,” he said.
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