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New Executive Director for Starke United

February 25, 2011
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02/28/11 Starke United welcomes one of its own into the position of executive director. Julie Dessauer, who has been a part of the Starke United Executive Board since 2007, will begin as director for the organization on March 7.

Mike Charbonneau, vice chair of leadership for Starke United, said he thinks Dessauer will be a great asset to the organization.

“I and Todd Zeltwanger (Starke United chairperson) both feel that Julie is a very qualified candidate,” he said. “She has tremendous support and respect in the community and can help us bring this organization to where we want it to be.”

It’s Dessauer’s previous experience as a business owner and her time spent with not-for-profit organizations that makes her well qualified for the work ahead with Starke United. Along with being the Vice Chair of Allocations for Starke United, Dessauer has worked with the not-for-profit organizations Opportunity Enterprises and Junior Achievement.

Besides her extensive not-for-profit experience, Dessauer is a successful business owner. She has lived in North Judson with her family – husband, Lenny, and four children – for twelve years. In 2006, she and her husband opened A Step in Time, a country store, café, and coffee and ice cream shop. In the short time the store has been opened, it has become an integral part of the North Judson’s community. Dessauer and her husband also own Jumps ‘R Us, a moonwalk rental company, and Dessauer is a realtor for Century 21 Executive Real Estate in Valparaiso.

But it is her involvement in the community – such as her positions on Starke United, Starke County Board of Tourism and Starke County Visitors Association Board/Innkeepers Tax Committee – that provides Dessauer with a feeling of accomplishment.

“Working with non-profits gives me a real sense of purpose for my efforts,” she said. “I am proud to be affiliated with Starke United and I have goals of advancing Starke United through community awareness and fundraising efforts.”

Starke United closed out its 2010 campaign in February. It ended shy of its $75,000 goal, with $68,600 raised through campaign solicitations and event fundraisers. The revenue for the organization, though, was up from 2009.

Dessauer hopes to continue improving those numbers for 2011.

“My goal this year is to strengthen the awareness of Starke United, strengthen our support and donations, and allow Starke United to have a large impact on the greatly needed programs within Starke County,” she said. “We are proud of our community and want to support area programs that benefit us all. Many of the programs would suffer or even cease without our support.”

In 2010, Starke United distributed allocations to many local agencies, including, Coalition Against Domestic Abuse (CADA), Community Services of Starke County, Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), Drug & Tobacco Free Starke County, Junior Achievement, Love Inc, Starke County Youth Club and The Caring Place.

Zeltwanger, Starke United chairperson, said he is appreciative of the work of Edie Hall, the previous executive director of the organization, and now looks forward to Starke United’s future with Dessauer in the position.

“I want to express my thanks to Edie Hall for the work she has done over the past year,” he said. “Her work on the very successful campaign kick-off breakfast in September was especially helpful.

“At the same time, we are very excited about welcoming a former board member as executive director,” Zeltwanger continued. “Julie brings a wealth of experience in the not-for-profit arena to Starke United. We look forward to working with her to help Starke United in its mission to provide resources to those who need them most in Starke County.”

Hall’s resignation is effective March 20, 2011. She served as director of Starke United for one year.

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