Healthy Kids director moving on

The executive director of a nonprofit set up to serve uninsured children in Glendale is stepping down to take the helm of a domestic violence shelter in Arizona.

Camille Levee — who as the exuberant executive director of Glendale Healthy Kids has become a fixture in the local nonprofit community for the past 5 1/2 years — announced her resignation to the board of directors Thursday morning. She plans to move in May after shepherding through a round of key fundraisers for the nonprofit that has become synonymous with her name.

Levee will assume the executive director position for Time Out Inc., an emergency and transitional shelter for domestic violence victims in Payson, Ariz.

In her letter to the board, Levee said the time was ripe for transition.

“In every organization comes a time when even the most dynamic organization can benefit from new leadership and vision,” she wrote. “I have decided that now is the time for Glendale Healthy Kids.”

In an interview, she was quick to note that the mission of the nonprofit she helped put on firm footing through large-scale fundraisers, such as the annual Taste of Downtown Glendale, and efforts to grow an endowment set up several years ago, will continue unchanged.

“Everything stays the same,” she said. “We have some great events coming up. We have kids that still need healthcare.”

Levee’s announcement kicked off an accelerated search for her replacement before she leaves at the end of May.

The nonprofit is keen on honing in on efficiency and governance policies that would make Glendale Healthy Kids a model for other communities seeking ways to fill similar service gaps, said board President Allen Heck.

The board has set a “very audacious” timetable for finding a replacement in time for Levee’s departure, but meeting the deadline would serve the best interests of everyone involved to make sure the transition is as seamless as possible, he added.

“Camille has left a legacy that is absolutely unmatched … she provided a role model for anyone serving in this capacity in any organization that would be hard to reach,” Heck said.

Since its inception roughly 18 years ago, Glendale Healthy Kids has since grown into a mainstay. It was formed in response to a study that found a major service gap for uninsured and underinsured children.

Through its so-called “virtual clinic,” the nonprofit has provided hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of services each year to those children, and has kept an annual average of 35 kids out of emergency rooms, according to an op-ed penned by Levee last year.

“Camille, I would call her an Energizer bunny,” said Elizabeth Manasserian, immediate past president of the board. “It’s been a wonderful collaboration, friendship and [sense of] teamwork.”

Until her departure, Levee plans to fulfill the same role she has for years, selling tickets for the Taste of Downtown Glendale on Brand Boulevard the day of the May 9 event and promoting other fundraisers along the way.

While she expressed sadness about leaving a community in which she has so ingratiated herself, Levee also said she was confident that a new leader would be able to take Glendale Healthy Kids “to the next level or two.”

“They will be in the best of hands, even though they may not be my hands,” she said.

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