LiftUp of Routt County executive director leaving for job in Westminster
Steamboat Springs — LiftUp of Routt County, the nonprofit that helps people living on the economic margins enjoy the benefits of fresh food and job-readiness coaching, is looking for a new executive director after receiving the news that Laura von Boecklin, who has been in the post since October 2013, is leaving Feb. 3 to take a position with the Westminster Legacy Foundation.
Von Boecklin said she has always been aware that over the life cycle of any organization, it needs different leaders, and that is her sense as she leaves LiftUp.
“I know when it’s time to move on and let someone else do a job,” she said, adding she thinks there’s opportunity for a new leader to step in and capitalize on the recently expanded facilities at LiftUp.
The administrative offices and thrift store are at 2125 Curve Court, with the expanded food bank next door, on the west side of Steamboat Springs.
Von Boecklin is enthused about her new role at the Westminster Legacy Foundation, which is a nonprofit organization affiliated with the city of Westminster. The foundation raises funds from private sources to help support a wide range of public facilities and services including senior programs, open space and parks, public safety and historical legacy, among others.
“I’m just so excited about all the possibilities for growth,” at the foundation she said.
In the spring of 2015, LiftUp purchased a vacant 2,520-square-foot building next to its headquarters building with the goal of moving its food bank to the new building to create additional room for its thrift store in the main building, which has become a profit center. The new food bank opened in June 2016.
Von Boecklin said the amount of food distributed by LiftUp began to increase significantly after the food bank opened. At the end of 2016, it was up 30 percent over the same period in 2015.
LiftUp board President Bob Schuellein said von Boecklin not only ran the nonprofit but oversaw the building contractors during the extensive remodel of the new food bank building.
“She has been a real leader and an agent of change to help LiftUp grow tremendously during her three years as executive director,” Schuellein said. “We have the Power-Up program that provides scholarships to help people in low-paying jobs further their education with technical skills to help them (earn) a living wage. And we provide more than 300 healthy snack bags a week to school-age children. The vast majority of people who come to LiftUp are the working poor.”
And in the grocery department, LiftUp has placed increasing emphasis on fresh vegetables and sources of protein at the new food bank location. That effort has been supported by the Grow a Row for LiftUp program, which encourages local gardeners to bring their produce into the food bank.
“We are truly going to miss Laura,” Schuellein said.
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