Passing the torch at Valley Outreach

Tracy Maki
Tracy Maki

Next week a torch will be passed at Valley Outreach.

The Stillwater-based nonprofit will host a celebration Wednesday, Feb. 19, to bid farewell to Executive Director Christine Tubbs and welcoming her replacement, Tracy Maki. The party will also welcome two other new staff members, Director of Operations Kateri Routh and Volunteer Coordinator Suzanne Lindquist.

Tubbs, who has been with the organization nearly two years, announced her resignation last fall, because her family was moving to Colorado.

“My husband and I really wanted to move closer to family, which is on the West Coast,” Tubbs said.

An opportunity arose for her husband in Denver, and her family moved, but she volunteered to continue in her position and help coordinate a smooth transition.

Tubbs will spend next week handing off her responsibilities to Maki, a Stillwater resident chosen from among more than 60 applicants for the job.

Coming from a position as director of development for the St. Croix River Association, Maki has worked with a variety of organizations, including Peach House Africa, College of Visual Arts in St. Paul, the Basilica of St. Mary and more. She has much experience in fundraising, development and donor relations.

Although she wasn’t looking for a change, Maki said, the position at Valley Outreach seemed a good fit. She has missed the personal, direct contact with clients that she experienced in some of her previous positions, and she looks forward to that aspect of her new job.

“Tracy will be exceptional for the organization,” Tubbs said. “She has a passion for the St. Croix Valley and the individuals who live in the valley, and she has a keen ability to understand people’s needs, and she can do that very objectively to be able to make sure that Valley Outreach will be able to give the clients really what they need.”

Valley Outreach Board Chair Linda Friesen is also confident in Maki’s abilities.

“I have no doubt she will maneuver (the new responsibilities) gracefully,” Friesen said.

Kateri Routh
Kateri Routh

Tubbs said Routh and Lindquist, the other staff members who recently came on board, will also serve the organization well.

Routh, who started as director of operations Jan. 6, used to work for nonprofits in Chicago, where she earned a master’s in public services management. She moved to Minnesota for family reasons, and the job at Valley Outreach caught her eye because she felt a “strong tie to the mission.”

Lindquist, who used to work for Catholic Charities, had her first day as volunteer coordinator for Valley Outreach Feb. 12. She said she enjoys getting to know people and matching them with a volunteer activity they’ll love. That’s what she looks forward to most.

“We have lots of different opportunities,” she said. “We’ll find something that’s meaningful for them to do.”

Suzanne Lindquist
Suzanne Lindquist

Despite all the changes, Friesen said Valley Outreach is positioned to succeed, in large part thanks to Tubbs.

“She has been such a change agent at Valley Outreach,” Friesen said.

Although Valley Outreach has experienced some difficult transitions in the past, Friesen doesn’t expect that to happen this time.

“The past is behind us. We’re ready to move into the future, really bringing hope,” she said. “It really is all about that torch being passed. We see no hiccups in this transition.”

Tubbs agrees.

“This is very joyful,” she said.

Knowing that she leaves the organization well-positioned and in the hands of a “dynamic team” makes it easier for Tubbs to move on to the next challenge. For her, that’s taking the lead at Comicbook Classroom, an after-school literacy program funded by Denver Comic Con.

Maki said she is also believes Valley Outreach is positioned for success and is excited to see what happens.

“I am looking forward to seeing the strength of the St. Croix Valley coming together,” she said.

The public is invited to meet Maki, Lindquist and Routh and to celebrate Tubbs contributions during an open house 4-6 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 19 at Valley Outreach, 1911 Curve Crest Blvd. A brief program is at 5:30 p.m.

“Not only is this a time for celebration and welcome, it’s a time to come and see what your neighborhood foodshelf and clothing closet look like, because there’s just been some amazing transformations that have happened over this last year,” Friesen said.

For more information, email [email protected]

Contact Jonathan Young at [email protected]