A Tribute to Ann KINg
25 years after joining as the Executive Director of Tri-Valley Haven in 1997, Ann King retired in Dec 2022.
Christine Dillman who now serves as the Executive Director shares this beautiful narrative on Ann’s journey and her tremendous contributions to Tri-Valley Haven.
For the past 25 years, Ann King has been an incredible Executive Director. Ann received her Masters in Social Work and Administration from San Diego State University in 1985. She went on to direct a domestic violence services program and then a drop-in center for unhoused individuals, both in San Diego, California. Ann King then went on to lead Tri-Valley Haven with compassion, determination, skill and a unique vision from the years of 1997 – 2022. Her professional career has been devoted to eliminating violence against women and children, serving survivors and ending poverty.
I cannot possibly describe all the things Ann King has done for Tri-Valley Haven in a few short paragraphs. I can however share several anecdotes that reflect the kind of leader that Ann was.
The first occurred in 2001 when Tri-Valley Haven was approached by the City of Livermore to potentially provide homeless services. These services included an emergency homeless shelter for individuals and families and a busy Food Pantry. The need for direct homeless services was increasing in the Tri-Valley. At the time, Tri-Valley Haven was known as an agency that offered exceptional domestic violence and sexual assault services to survivors. Back then, many staff and community members publicly questioned whether Tri-Valley Haven should take on “homeless services” and run a new emergency shelter. Despite the criticism and doubt, Ann remained steadfast to our organization’s mission, creating safe homes. She believed that providing shelter and healthy food to families and individuals was in complete alignment with the Haven’s vision to establish secure, healthy homes. Twenty years on, thousands of individuals have been successfully helped through Tri-Valley Haven’s homeless services. Today, we cannot imagine not running these vital shelter and food pantry services. It took a lot of leadership, compassion, and vision from Ms. King to get us here.
There were similar detractors, both inside and outside of the organization, when Ann suggested opening Tri-Valley Haven’s Thrift Store. The vision for the Haven’s thrift store came from Ann years before it became a reality. Some Haven supporters worried that the store wouldn’t bring in sufficient income, or donations for that matter. Despite this, Ann followed her instincts. She visited successful thrift shops in the area and learned from them what worked and what did not. Today, ten years after Tri-Valley Haven’s Thrift Store opened, the shop greatly helps to fund our homeless services. In addition, Tri-Valley Haven’s shelter residents shop there for free, picking up clothing and housing items in a dignified and empowered manner.
Ann has led Tri-Valley Haven through recessions, economic downturns and significant cuts in government grant funding. Throughout all, she kept the agency thriving. During the Great Recession in 2008 and 2009, Tri-Valley Haven experienced significant funding cuts. At the same time, the need for shelter, food and counseling services in the community skyrocketed. Numerous nonprofits laid off employees; Many case managers, counselors and advocates lost their jobs. Due to Ann’s leadership, no one at Tri-Valley Haven was let go. Instead, employees reduced their hours by 10% and managers cut their hours by 20%. When the economy rebounded a year later, employees had their hours restored. This strategy saved jobs, and increased morale. Everyone felt safer; The agency hadn’t sacrificed a single employee to balance the budget.
Ann King will be missed.
She was a great leader and a mentor who wasn’t afraid to be the only person to stand up for what was right. Well, perhaps she was afraid, but she did it anyway. In one instance, Ann took a stand against a large government institution to protect the confidentiality of Tri-Valley Haven’s most vulnerable clients. In the end, many people sided with Ann’s stance, but initially she had no idea how it would turn out.
Ann was also a fierce advocate for diversity and equity. She began the Partners in Equity (PIE) Committee. This staff led committee focuses on promoting equity and inclusion within Tri-Valley Haven and the greater Tri-Valley community. The PIE Committee is a thriving work group today.
In closing, please join me in thanking Ann for her vision and her influence. They live on at Tri-Valley Haven. Together, we continue to build a community free from violence, abuse and poverty.
Christine Dillman, Executive Director