Mark Ketcham Says Goodbye to SunServe

Mark Ketcham. Photo via SunServe.

Mark Ketcham, the executive director of SunServe, retired from the agency last week after 10 years.

Ketcham announced his retirement in March saying, “As the SunServe board’s vision and my vision begin to diverge, it is a perfect time for me to step back and make room for new blood, fresh energy and bold new ideas.”

Victor Warren, the chairperson of the board at SunServe, agreed with that.

“We had a difference of opinion on the direction we should go,” Warren said.

One such direction is continuing to expand.

“You have to keep adding programming,” Warren said.

Warren credited Ketcham with growing the agency. When Ketcham started the organization had a staff of five and a budget of $300,000.

Today they have a staff of 40 and a budget of $3 million.

Over the years Ketcham led the way as the organization expanded its services and diversified its programming, which now includes one of the most robust LGBT youth services departments in the area.

Most of the organization’s programming is funded through grants. But when the agency recognized there was a need for services and programming for the transgender community it stepped up to the plate despite a lack of funds.

“The transgender department doesn’t have a funding source, so we pay for that 100%,” Warren noted.

For now Shelley Goren will take over interim Executive Director.

“Shelley has devoted her life to working with non-profit organizations, and has been successful in operational, development, and executive roles,” a press release reads. “Shelley’s wealth of experience will prove to be invaluable as she assists the SunServe Board of Directors in organizational planning and identifying a permanent candidate to lead the agency.”

Warren noted this might not be best to be changing leadership with the coronavirus crisis going on but he’s thankful the agency is not struggling financially.

“We could always use more money,” he said. He’s grateful to the AIDS Healthcare Foundation and the annual AIDS Walk for continuing to match the fundraising dollars this year even though the event was postponed. They were able to raise $528,000, which was on par with what they raised last year.

“It has been a profound honor and wonderful experience to help SunServe grow into the wonderful and well-respected agency that is today,” Ketcham wrote in March. “This could not have been done without all the unbelievably dedicated staff, volunteers and board members — hundreds of people took part.”