After 6.5 years as head of the Children’s Treatment Centre Foundation of Chatham-Kent, Art Stirling is stepping down.
Stirling said it is nothing more than a mutual parting of the ways.
He leaves with respect for the people he’s worked with over the years.
“I have tremendous respect for what the centre does in our community for our children. I will always be a fan and will continue to remain supportive,” he said. “They have some great staff and some great leadership.”
Stirling was just as complimentary of the board.
“I have had the pleasure of working with some outstanding board members; some really great people in the community,” he said.
That board is who put him in the chair he’s vacating.
“They hired me to essentially build the charity from the ground up,” he said. “They wanted to build awareness for the foundation as quickly as they could. I think I have delivered quite effectively, and the board has been quite pleased with my performance.”
Michael Grail, chair of the foundation board, expressed his appreciation for Stirling’s efforts.
“We can’t thank Art enough for everything we’ve asked Art to do,” he said. “We have had a tremendous amount of accomplishments over the last six-plus years. The things he has been able to do to build this foundation … we can’t thank him enough. He will continue to be a friend to the foundation and to the treatment centre.”
Stirling said the executive director of the foundation job is changing, and that the position requires a slightly different skill set, with more focus on raising funds.
“I’m a pretty good fundraiser, but that’s not my background by training,” he said.
Still, Stirling presided over some very successful local fundraising, notably the annual Festival of Giving events, which annually raises hundreds of thousands of dollars.
But it is also a contributing factor for Stirling’s desire for change.
“The Festival of Giving is such an incredible event, but it is extremely draining. As I was going through this year’s event, I was really struggling with wanting to do it again,” the 53 year old said. “For four months of the year, it completely consumes you. I love the event, and we have some great volunteers, but for a guy my age, it is physically and mentally draining.”
As for replacing Stirling, Grail said it won’t be an easy task.
“We will sit down as a board and we will determine what direction we’re heading,” he said. “This is a fundraising foundation for the treatment centre; we really now need to look for the skill set that will keep us relevant in the new fundraising era.”
Stirling, who with fellow former Chatham-Kent Coun. Marjorie Crew is leading the funding quest to build a new animal shelter in Chatham, isn’t sure what the future holds for him, but he’ll approach it with an open mind.
“Eight years on council, years in a senior management opportunity in the private sector, six years in not-for-profit, it’s allowed me to see our community in a lot of different ways, from a lot of different angles,” he said.