Arlene Daily, executive director of the Keystone Opportunity Center, moves to HUD post


SOUDERTON — Part of Arlene Daily’s job since becoming executive director of the Keystone Opportunity Center in 2017 has been to interact with a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) liaison about grants from Keystone with the federal agency.

In her new job at HUD’s Regional Planning and Community Development office in Philadelphia, she will be the liaison.

“I will be that person at HUD working with agencies like Keystone to help ensure they are able to understand and effectively execute their HUD grants,” Daily said.

The office covers an area from Delaware to eastern and central Pennsylvania, so she doesn’t yet know exactly which agencies she will work with, she said in the week before she took office on 28 February.

“I’ve really never had anything like the experience I had at Keystone because it’s such a loving community that really cares about its members and really wants to make sure people have access to food, housing and education,” Daily said.

Keystone’s board and staff are “spectacular,” she said.

“It really is an organization that is centered around the heart and their passion for their customers, the empathy, the willingness to advocate for the customers and the students that they have, everyone is such a team player,” he said. she declared. “They really want to see their community members in need succeed.”

“We are sad to lose Arlene as she has been a wonderful leader and has accomplished so much during her tenure as executive director,” Trish Sneddon, chair of the Keystone Opportunity Center board of directors, said in a statement. “She led the organization through difficult times, both financially and operationally, and we came out of it much stronger, thanks to Arlene. We know she will be as successful in her new role as she was with us.

His time at Keystone included a lot of work to strengthen operational procedures and structures, Daily said.

Meanwhile, Keystone has also taken over the Fresh for All product distribution held every Tuesday in Souderton “and really expanded that program so that there’s more variety of foods and more partners involved,” it said. she declared.

Keystone’s educational programs also increased during this time, she said.

“We’ve taken new territory in education, expanding into Norristown and other parts of southeastern Pennsylvania,” Daily said.

“The housing department has grown,” she said. “Grants and funding for this have increased, so each year we accept more clients than the year before.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to an increased need for the services provided by Keystone, she said.

“The population that we have served throughout, people with low income or no income, is really the population that is the first affected and the last to recover in an emergency, but especially with COVID,” said Daily.

Aid programs during the pandemic are winding down, but the needs remain, she said.

“When you have a very fragile population, it’s hard for them to get up and stay up,” Daily said, “and then when you have an emergency like the pandemic, it’s especially hard for them to recover.”

Marta Kiesling is the acting director of the Keystone Opportunity Center. (photo sent)

Acting director appointed

Marta Rubin Kiesling, Acting Director of Keystone, worked as a benefits lawyer for 17 years and has 20 years of experience working with nonprofit organizations.

“I’m excited to be able to work with the organization and build on what Arlene has done,” Kiesling said, “and help prepare the organization for the arrival of the next leader.”

She said she has been fortunate to work in the Pottstown community for several years and sees similarities to the Souderton area in the way people care for each other and the generosity of the community.

She said she expects to hold the interim position for four or five months, depending on how long the search for the new chief executive lasts. The research, which is just beginning, is being conducted by Dunleavy & Associates, where Kiesling has been a consultant for three years.

In addition to listing the organizations and jobs she has been involved in, Kiesling’s profile on the Dunleavy & Associates webpage describes her as “a theater geek, an enigma, a foodie and a self-reflective . Gatherer and organizer of people who likes to recharge through bike rides, solo explorations and embarrassing piano playing. Addicted to thrillers – let’s leave it at that.

Keystone’s work is “about people in every way,” Kiesling said, “most importantly with the people who are served in the community.”

“Of course, I won’t engage with the community at the level of Arlene or the new leader, nor should I because I’m here just as a stepping stone, but nonetheless, I’m really excited to be a part of it. of that kind of service work,” Kiesling said. “Hopefully I can help through this little transition period, that’s the idea, and make things as smooth as possible for everyone.”

Keystone is at a strong point, Daily said.

“We’re at a point where we’ve finished a lot of things that we wanted to work on and that gives us the perfect time to be able to transition into someone who will take it to the next level,” she says.

Nonprofit leadership is like a relay race in which each person runs for a while and then passes the baton to the next, she said.

“We all hope that our mission will eventually be resolved and no one will ever need our services again,” Daily said. “Until then, we just stand on the shoulders of the giants in front of us, take over, carry it forward, and then look forward to the next person.

The job posting for Keystone’s new executive director will be posted on the website, Kiesling said.

“I’m sure there are a lot of people in the area who would be a great fit,” she said.

“I think this organization is a wonderful place and hopefully there will be good local candidates,” she said, “who want to step up and support her in this way.”

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