Community Center names new executive

Looking to raise its profile and boost fundraising, the Community Center of La Cañada Flintridge formally named Deborah Jordan as its new executive director this week.

Jordan, a La Crescenta resident, took the reins nearly two months before Monday's announcement and got off to a strong start with the center's annual ceramics sale June 8 and 9.

“We had the best numbers that we've had in a number of years with our gross sales, so I think what I'm doing is working, even though I just started and so I have a long way to go,” Jordan said. “We had brand-new people coming through the doors for the first time, and that's the best thing.”

A 20-year veteran of the nonprofit world, Jordan came to the community center after spending six years as the executive director of the Asia Society Southern California, which promotes cultural understanding between people in Asia and the United States.

Jordan said that in her first year at the Asia Society, membership grew from 200 to 1,000, and the nonprofit's annual budget grew from $200,000 to $700,000.

Ara Aslanian, chairman of the community center board, said Jordan's proven ability to grow an organization and work with donors is what made her stand out from more than 90 applicants for the post.

“We chose Deb because of her vast experience in working with nonprofits, that she's done fundraising campaigns,” Aslanian said. “We're obviously looking to expand our programs and looking to grow the community center's profile in the city and the tri-city area.”

Jordan said she'd like to make capital improvements to the center on Chevy Chase Drive.

“The building is 60 years old, and it was built by volunteers and members of the community, there are always opportunities to upgrade the facilities,” Jordan said.

She added that the center's main fundraiser, the annual Thanksgiving Day Run, as well as Casino Night and more ceramics sales could generate some of the money needed for upgrades.

In order to get more residents through the center's doors for classes — ranging from summer camps to programs tailored for seniors — Jordan said she plans on leveraging connections with local organizations including the La Cañada Flintridge Chamber of Commerce and Kiwanis Club.

“I want to make sure all our events are on all the community calendars around town,” she said.

Jordan's predecessor, Megan Nordvedt, served as executive director for four years before being asked by the board to step down in March. Nordvedt has since filed a lawsuit claiming she was improperly fired for taking pregnancy leave.

Aslanian said that thus far Jordan has shown she has exactly what the board was looking for in its new director.

“She's very dedicated, I think she gets along with the staff very well,” he said. “Obviously it's still early, but in the first 60 days she's been on the job she's been in early, she's out late, she seems to have the pulse of the center.”

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