Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids searches for new president
Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids announced some changes this week, including the transition of president and CEO Leann Arkema into an internal consulting role.
The nonprofit said that it would be focusing on the future growth of its programs in the emotional health care field.
Arkema will work with the Gilda’s Club board and executive staff on strategic initiatives to support this mission.
Arkema as consultant
Arkema's work will include fostering program development in new areas, creating diversified revenue streams and building regional and national relationships for Gilda’s LaughFest.
Arkema will operate out of San Francisco, where she is relocating.
Gilda’s Club has begun its search for a new president to run day-to-day operations, focus on fund development and work on expanding current programming.
Until a new president is selected, Arkema will remain in her current role.
“The growth of Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids has been significant in the past five years,” said David Sebastian, Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids board chair. “We need Leann to focus on managing our growth and strategic partnerships. Her work will provide important guidance as we expand our services in the growing field of emotional health programming."
Emotional health support
Gilda’s Club’s current emotional health support programming is the only program of its kind in the region, using licensed professionals to offer and facilitate education, structured support groups, networking, lectures, workshops and social activities.
The nonprofit pointed out that its children’s grief and cancer support programs have grown by more than 50 percent in just the past few years.
All programming is offered free of charge.
Grand Rapids "continues to evolve as a regional health care destination, recognized for its cutting edge clinical and treatment programs" in cancer, neurodegenerative diseases, transplantation, muscular skeletal disorders and level one trauma, said Robert Prevette, vice chair for the Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids Board of Directors.
“Accordingly, we will need to continue to grow and enhance our emotional health support programming,” he said.
“The medical profession is becoming increasingly engaged in the practice and delivery of emotional health care,” Arkema said. “Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids has served in a leadership role offering patients and families emotional health support in a number of ways. Our work has touched children and adults impacted by cancer, as well as families dealing with the loss of a loved one for any reason, including suicide, illness and other tragedies.”
Largest of its kind
Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids is the largest and busiest of 52 affiliate clubs in North America. Each year, it serves more than 10,000 individuals from 33 counties in Michigan.
The nonprofit's 10 day comedy festival, LaughFest, has been hugely successful, with an average attendance of 55,000 and generating total net proceeds of $751,000 in support of the cancer, grief and emotional health programs.