Delivered to 15,000 Plainfield "doorsteps" Monday, Wednesday, Friday & Sunday

Friday, February 12, 2010

YWCA interim director rarin' to go

Donna Dolce, the YWCA's new interim executive director.

The Plainfield-based YWCA of Central New Jersey's new interim executive director is on the job and rarin' to go.

Donna Dolce, a recently retired Girl Scout executive and former Fanwood borough council member, recently took up her duties as the interim head of the organization, whose roots in the Plainfield community are rich and deep -- the local YWCA having worked with area girls and women for over a hundred years.

When we made contact, Dolce agreed we should meet for a bite of lunch at Bill's Luncheonette on East Front Street.

I was thinking to show her one of the downtown business folks' haunts; Dolce had a more practical take on things, 'It's chilly over here (in the YWCA building) since the new boilers have arrived but are not yet installed,
' she said, 'and Bill's definitely sounds more comfortable'.

The boilers in question are replacements of the facility's aged heating system, provided through an energy efficiency program offered by PSE&G, which I mentioned in my previous post about the search for a new director (see here). Turns out, as I learned at lunch, that they have been delivered and are awaiting uncrating and installation, which is expected to take place next week. Once they are installed and inspected, the entire complex will be past the heating issue that has hampered programming activity since winter set in.

The ornate YWCA crest beneath the theater's oriel window.

Dolce is warm and enthusiastic, eager to get under way with the many challenges and opportunities facing the historic YWCA's board.

'Of course, I will be responsible for running the organization's day-to-day operations,' she said, 'and that will include helping to stabilize the YW's finances'.

This is the sort of stuff any interim director has to contend with, though today things are a bit more challenging for nonprofits owing to the deep recession in which the country finds itself.

Even in the face of those challenges, though, Dolce is confident she can help the Board of Directors decide what its next steps will be. 'Often, Boards underestimate their own strengths and resources,' she said, 'and an extra pair of fresh eyes can help a Board get a better focus and renewed enthusiasm for the organization's mission and prospects'.

Helping the Board decide its next steps and working with it in the selection process for a permanent director round out Dolce's vision of her tasks while at the YWCA.

'How long will it take?' I asked.

Dolce said there was no defined time frame, but I got the sense this is someone who does not less moss grow under her feet.

Dolce has a power resumé that is mighty impressive.

Not only did she retire from the Girl Scouts, as executive director of the Washington Rock Council, when three councils were merged into one, she has a combined 17 years in leadership positions in Girl Scouting in New Jersey and New York State, as well as a stint at the national headquarters where she delivered training to top managers and organizational leaders.

Dolce also worked for the YWCA out of its national offices in New York, where she provided management and training services to 85 affiliates nationwide. Yes, eighty-five.

As if this weren't enough, she did a stint with the United Way of Essex and West Hudson for seven years, where she was director of the Volunteer Center and managed the Northern NJ combined Federal campaign, soliciting United Way contributions from Federal employees.

Not wanting to rest on her oars, Dolce also was a founding member of the NJ2-1-1 system (for more info, see here), a free, multilingual, confidential telephone hotline for health and social service information and contacts throughout the state.

A two-term council member in the neighboring borough of Fanwood, Dolce is known for working well with others to get things done.

As we finished lunch, I had a good feeling that the YWCA, despite some of its recent problems, had made a wise choice in finding an accomplished, seasoned and objective professional to lead them on the next steps in their adventure of service to women, girls and families in central New Jersey in the 21st century.

1920s view of Plainfield's historic YWCA building.

-- Dan Damon [follow]

View today's CLIPS here. Not getting your own CLIPS email daily? Click here to subscribe.


Anonymous said...

Great coverage of the YWCA interim director. I wish her the best. It would have been nice for you to have had contact with the new CEO of the Plainfield Area YMCA.