Court-Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Los Angeles is nearing the end of its search for a new CEO, retiring Executive Director Dilys Garcia announced in the organization’s latest newsletter.
“Further interviews will occur in early September and a selection announcement is anticipated late September or early October. My departure will follow the arrival and orientation of our new leader and we will share those dates once they are set,” Garcia said in the newsletter.
Garcia’s tenure is ending on a strong note with CASA LA bringing in its largest annual gift of all time at $3.8 million for FY 2016, which ended June 30. It also added 200 new advocates to its roster of volunteers and served a total of 4,123 children and youth that year.
“I’m extremely grateful for all support we’ve had within and around CASA because this would not have happened without it, and we’re hoping that will continue. Our job is not done yet,” Garcia said in an interview.
Garcia announced her intent to retire this summer and plans to relocate to a small town in northern Michigan, according to the July 13 announcement.
When Garcia was hired, CASA LA was owned and operated by the court system; it also had a nonprofit arm that raised about $1 million per year. However when the courts were forced to make deep budget cuts in 2010, due to the recession, CASA LA was one of the first line items to go.
“It was kind of like a start-up from a funding perspective. I was brought in when CASA LA was faced with a major funding transition, and the goal was to transform CASA into a healthy fundraising endeavor. We feel we’ve accomplished that. There’s a strong, vibrant organization in place today that came up from the ashes of the 2010 defunding,” Garcia said.
Garcia credits CASA LA’s success over the past six years to the individuals and foundations who have given time, resources and funding over the years.
“It has a really strong foundation right now of support, a larger, more skilled staff – the whole organization has upped its game so we’re competitive and we’re able to deliver services to more kids,” she said.
CASA LA has just finalized its six-year strategic plan that lays out roadmap for the incoming leader. Key ingredients, according to Garcia, are growing revenue to $10 million by diversifying funding streams, such as pursuing funding from the Victims of Crime Act, and integrating CASA LA into the community by establishing partnerships in all five supervisorial districts in Los Angeles County.