Kaweah Delta’s hiring of Wynn is a loss for Visalia food pantry

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Hospital Foundation announces Liz Wynn as director of development; Visalia Emergency Aid Council begins search for new executive director

By Reggie Ellis @Reggie_SGN

VISALIA – Kaweah Delta has a new director of development who will oversee fundraising programs to help Kaweah Delta provide the highest level of care to the community.

After an extensive national search, Liz Wynn, who has served the community as executive director of the Visalia Emergency Aid Council (VEAC) since 2014, has been selected to serve in this Kaweah Delta leadership position.

“I’m really excited to make a positive impact on the health care of our community and I know I am going to be able to continue making a positive impact,” she said.

Wynn has a degree in Business Management from Fresno Pacific University. She serves the community as a Planning Commissioner for the City of Visalia and as a Board Member of the Rotary Club of Visalia. She is also a volunteer on Kaweah Delta’s Community Relations Community Advisory Committee.

“Volunteering on Kaweah Delta’s Community Relations Community Advisory Committee really opened my eyes to what a great organization Kaweah Delta is and how impactful it is on our community and our economy, which most people don’t realize,” she said. “I’ve learned that Kaweah Delta is committed to the community and on all levels, that’s a daunting challenge. I can honestly say that Kaweah Delta is doing everything it can to rise to the challenge of providing the highest level of care to everybody.”

Liz Wynn
Director of Development
Kaweah Delta Hospital Foundation

Wynn is responsible for directing and overseeing all fundraising through the Kaweah Delta Hospital Foundation, which was created in 1979 to help Kaweah Delta achieve excellence in patient care through fundraising from the hospital family and the community. Since that time the nonprofit 501(c) (3) Foundation, with its appointed board of directors, has raised $59 million in support of Kaweah Delta. The Foundation raises funds through personal solicitation, grants, special events, direct mail, and social media appeals as well as through future, planned gifts such as bequests. In 2018 alone, nearly 50 percent of Kaweah Delta employees gave more than $500,000 back to Kaweah Delta through the Foundation’s payroll deduction donation program.

Wynn fills the role formerly served by Dena Cochran, vice president of development for the foundation, who retired in August. Since joining Kaweah Delta in 1985, Cochran helped the Kaweah Delta Hospital Foundation and the Foundation Board raise more than $58 million for the hospital. That money has helped Kaweah Delta fund the Sequoia Regional Cancer Center, the Acequia Wing, the da Vinci Surgical Robot, the helipad, the refurbishment of the Labor & Delivery Department, and many other capital projects across the hospital district. Deborah Volosin, who is now the Director of Community Engagement for Kaweah Delta, served as interim Director of Development after Cochran’s retirement.

While the move from VEAC to Kaweah Delta was not an easy one for Wynn, she said the time was right. “It was important to make sure that [VEAC] was set up for success and it is. Today, the organization is much stronger,” she said. “It has a new food pantry, which is completely debt free, and it is established in the community as a legitimate and thoughtfully-run organization.”

Under Wynn’s leadership, VEAC broke ground on a new 6,000 square foot warehouse last summer. VEAC’s current facility dates back to 1931 when the VEAC was built on the former offices and personnel barracks for CalFire. Visalia’s population was just 7,300 and has grown to more than 130,000. Today, VEAC provides food for 1,100 families each month. For nearly 87 years, Visalia Emergency Aid Council has been providing food to families with children and seniors, working from an adobe brick and mortar building in north Visalia. That building today has a leaky roof, inadequate storage space, no heating or air conditioning and it doesn’t meet current building codes.

VEAC’s interim director, office manager Mary Jane Jennings, said the food pantry’s 15-member board is in the midst of a regional search for a new director. “We are not just looking at Visalia,” she said. Jennings said VEAC has already received resumes for the position and that there is no timeline to fill the position.

“We have a lot of volunteers who are very active and will continue to serve our clients on a daily basis,” Jennings said. “As far as the clients are concerned, they won’t notice any changes.”

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