Jen Lenard-Benson takes on the role of Sunflower Hill’s new executive director, the organization’s board announced last week.
Lenard-Benson has more than 25 years of experience in the nonprofit sector and is skilled in strategic planning, fundraising, advocacy and board development, according to nonprofit officials. nonprofit that serves adults with developmental disabilities in the Tri-Valley and beyond.
“I have deep roots in the nonprofit sector and housing for underserved populations and I am delighted to engage with residents, participants, volunteers, donors, parents, caregivers, partners and the community,” Lenard-Benson told the Weekly.
She succeeds Janet Cohen, who served as interim chief executive when former executive Edie Nehls left in October.
“We are thrilled to have Jen bring to Sunflower Hill her nonprofit development and management expertise gained over her years in the sector,” said Kathy Layman, Chair of Sunflower Hill’s Board of Directors. “His broad and growing fundraising and strategic leadership responsibilities, coupled with his ability to build relationships with key stakeholders who are passionate about the mission, will be an asset to the organization.”
Lenard-Benson moved from Northwest Indiana to the Bay Area 11 years ago and has since connected and engaged with the area, including the Tri-Valley area. She brings with her extensive knowledge of the nonprofit sectors in the United States and Canada, Sunflower Hill officials said.
Additionally, Lenard-Benson is an advocate for affordable child care for low-income families and provides women with crisis services, including support for families affected by domestic violence.
“I look forward to working with staff to implement the organization’s strategic priorities, which include the co-development of inclusive affordable housing, the creation of multidisciplinary transition and independent and interdependent living training programs, and creating clear and accessible language about who we are and what we do,” she said.
“I am honored to join such a respected and established nonprofit and look forward to continuing the vital work of the organization,” she added.
Lenard-Benson said she felt honored to join a highly respected and established nonprofit organization like Sunflower Hill.
“As CEO, I look forward to working with the Board and staff to achieve the organizational mission, vision and strategic plan, as well as overseeing operations,” she said.
Lenard-Benson graduated from Valparaiso University in Indiana with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a minor in social work and gender studies. She is also certified in fundraising management from Indiana University.
Speaking about her work at Sunflower Hill, she said she was excited to pursue the organization’s vision.
“Work as an organizational champion to advance the organization’s mission and vision and will focus on achieving short-term goals while working toward long-term sustainability,” Lenard-Benson said. “I look forward to championing our next chapter.”