You might think he’s three or four different people, judging from the amount of work he does, but in truth there is only one Chris Clark to go around. And as one charitable organization loses him, another one adds him to its roster.
Chris Clark told SCVNews.com Wednesday he has been head-hunted away from his executive directorship of the Santa Clarita Valley YMCA to raise money for Sunland-based Tierra del Sol Foundation, a charity that helps 600 developmentally disabled adults throughout Los Angeles County overcome their challenges.
“I’m going back to helping people with disabilities,” Clark said. “It’s a passion for me. It’s the right thing to do.”
In a sense, Clark is going back to his roots. From 2003 to 2006 he was executive director of the SCV Special Olympics, and in 2006 and 2007 he was the Special Olympics’ manager for the entire Los Angeles County region.
In September 2007 he joined the SCV YMCA as its top staffer.
“It’s bittersweet to leave the Y,” he said. “I think I gave them a lot of exposure and built good relationships.”
Clark said he raised “well over $1.5 million” for the local YMCA in his four years there.
That experience will come in handy in his new role as development director (read: chief money raiser) for the $10 million Tierra del Sol Foundation.
One difference Clark will notice is the absence of the nationwide corporate structure he knew with Special Olympics and the YMCA.
“The nice thing about going from the Y to a more locally based organization is that I can provide that structure they need, create the routines they need,” he said.
Clark said he is leaving the local YMCA in good hands. He said longtime organization veteran Jane Stanton, executive director of the Porter Ranch YMCA, will take over the local operation, at least for a while.
Clark said Tierra del Sol Foundation recruited him, and it was a long process.
“It’s a stand-up organization,” he said. “It’s been around for 40 years. I’m very excited to be working with (executive director) Steve Miller.”
Clark said the charity provides programs throughout Los Angeles County and partners with more than 100 other organizations, businesses and colleges to provide job placement and educational opportunities for developmentally disabled adults.
He said he will continue to live in Valencia, and noted that several Tierra del Sol Foundation board members live or work in the Santa Clarita Valley. Clark’s wife works for the city of Santa Clarita.
Visit the Santa Clarita Valley YMCA online here and Tierra del Sol Foundation here.