Aileen Balahadia to leave White Center Community Development Association, ‘an organization that has been my heart and soul…’

(Aileen Balahadia, 2nd from left at Unity Village groundbreaking, WCN photo from Sept. 2010)
Just received from the White Center Community Development Association:

The Board of Directors of the White Center Community Development Association (CDA) today announced that the CDA Executive Director, Aileen Balahadia, plans to leave her position next spring. Ms. Balahadia has served as the organization’s Executive Director since January 2004.

“Under Aileen’s leadership the White Center CDA embraced a completely new model of comprehensive community development. Over the last eight years, she helped to grow the CDA from 1.5 FTE to a professional staff of 11.5 FTE and a $ 1.5m annual budget,” said Heather Downey, Board President and Burien resident. “White Center is a stronger, healthier community because of Aileen’s leadership.”

Accomplishments under Balahadia’s tenure include the successful management of a multi-million dollar Making Connections comprehensive community change initiative of the Annie E Casey Foundation, the launch of an emerging White Center Promise neighborhoods campaign, the opening of the 30-unit Unity Village affordable housing project, and the stewardship of core CDA programs like Family Connections and neighborhood business district revitalization.

“I have great mixed emotions as I announce my resignation from an organization that has been my heart and soul for the last eight years. The White Center CDA is now in a great place to move to a different level- it’s much bigger than any one person now. We are rooted locally, but on the cusp of being known nationally for its innovation,” said Ms. Balahadia. She added, “I’m also excited to take some time off from executive leadership to recharge and refresh. And it always feels good to leave on a high note, especially when our organization and our budget are in a healthy place.”

Board member and White Center resident Pat Thompson applauds Ms. Balahadia’s creative approach to community building and the organization’s values of resident leadership and authentic partnership. “Aileen’s legacy is that today White Center has its own voice. The results speak daily for themselves through our neighborhood improvements, better academic achievement scores, a Community Summit attended by 400 people each year, and partnership projects with Southwest Youth and Family Services, Highline Public Schools, Impact Capital/Seattle Office of Economic Development, Port Jobs, White Center Chamber of Commerce, to name a few.”

In preparation for this change, the Board has commenced plans for the executive transition and hire of the CDA’s next leader. Ms. Balahadia’s last day will be on March 31, 2012.

The Board has adopted an aggressive timeline to find the next Executive Director for the CDA. Board Secretary and Burien resident Karen Veloria says, “We are moving quickly to assure a quality leadership transition. We plan to find a new leader to coincide with Aileen’s last month at the CDA.” The CDA has retained the services of Watanabe Consultation to assist in the recruitment search and hiring process for the CDA Board of Directors.

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4 Responses to “Aileen Balahadia to leave White Center Community Development Association, ‘an organization that has been my heart and soul…’”

  1. Could we please stop the low income housing? It’s time it went to the Eastside. Too much crime and not enough taxes.

  2. I am sure she has inflicted enough damage to the oppression of White Center and moved on to bigger and better things. Also, keep watch on the people who recruit so that it is not nepotism, better yet, can we put this to a vote for residents? Remember, the design damage done to our neighborhood to keep it at a low income stamina is rendered by paid, educated (might use this as a way of loan forgiveness) persons.

  3. Wow can’t believe these comments. Aileen has been a treasure to the community and she will be missed! Have you all noticed that the “low income housing” is the nicest stuff built in white center in the last ten years? You would me smart to aim your ire at the real criminals in wc, market rate slum landlords!

  4. ….we need a new stigma for WC, with non oppression; such as housing (omit the word low income); WC residents (omit the words of ethnic specifics, homelessness; then start building on WC as a COMMUNITY. Could someone please explain to me how WCCDA DIFFERS from left liberal grassroots; such as a re-emerging ACORN?