Chairman of San Diego’s Largest Non-Profit Steps Down After 39 Years

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TERI Inc., San Diego’s largest nonprofit serving adults and children with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families announced today that 39-year Chairman of the Board, Cheryl Kilmer has stepped down. Melinda Newsome will assume chair responsibilities immediately.

“It’s really the natural evolution of any organization,” explains Kilmer, who will stay on as CEO. “And we’re all extremely excited about our new chair.”

TERI Inc., San Diego’s largest nonprofit serving adults and children with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families announced today that 39-year Chairman of the Board, Cheryl Kilmer has stepped down. Melinda Newsome will assume chair responsibilities immediately.

New leadership is a ‘natural evolution,’ says founder and CEO.

TERI Inc., San Diego’s largest nonprofit serving adults and children with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families announced today that 39-year Chairman of the Board, Cheryl Kilmer has stepped down. Kilmer founded TERI 39 years ago and has served as CEO and Chairman of the Board since that time.

“It’s really the natural evolution of any organization,” explains Kilmer, who will stay on as CEO. “And we’re all extremely excited about our new chair.”

Melinda Newsome will assume chair responsibilities immediately. She comes to TERI with an entire career of working with non-profit organizations, specializing in fundraising, grant writing and sustainability. Plus, she’s passionate about TERI and its mission.

“You know, I never expected to be working with TERI,” Newsome said. “But when I was called back in 2014 to help them with some development issues, I fell in love with them – their clients and their organization. I’m honored to use my skills to help ensure that TERI has a dynamic and sustainable future.”

Kilmer couldn’t be more pleased with her successor. “Melinda understands our culture, our love for our clients and our commitment to quality programs,” Kilmer said. “Plus her background is excellent. We are extremely grateful to have her.”

Laura White, who spent years as TERI’s development director, and who now sits on the board, is optimistic about the extra time the new leadership will afford Kilmer to work on completing TERI’s San Marcos-based Campus of Life. “Cheryl is really a unique woman,” White said. “She’s dedicated her entire life to serving the special needs community. I’m glad she will have more time to really focus in on completing the Campus with a new chairman in place.”

Work is currently under way for phase II of the campus which will include an 8,460-square-foot vocational center that will offer TERI’s special needs clients career training in floral arts, woodworking, food processing, culinary arts and sales. A 6-acre organic farm will offer client training in growing, harvesting, packaging, selling and delivering organic produce to local restaurants and farmers markets. The second phase will also provide 1,750 additional training and volunteer opportunities for TERI clients and the community.

Completing the campus, designed to serve as an international model, while maintaining TERI’s high standard of quality for it’s over 850 clients and their families is at the top of Kilmer’s list. “There’s never a day that goes by that I’m not extremely grateful for the opportunity I have to work with these special people,” said Kilmer, who was originally inspired to found TERI by a young girl she worked with named Yvette, who was living in deplorable conditions in an institution. “We owe our clients this new campus,” Kilmer added. “We have so many people depending on it. Recent studies show that 1 in five people now have a disability. We really do owe them this.”

About TERI Inc.
TERI Inc., a nonprofit organization founded in 1980, is changing the way the world sees and empowers people with special needs. TERI specializes in setting quality standards for individuals of all ages with a wide range of developmental and learning disabilities and supporting their families. TERI serves more than 850 families in Southern California with more than 19 programs as well as in residential homes throughout the area. The organization’s more than 500 dedicated staff members provide educational, social, and vocational opportunities in a positive, supportive environment. TERI has been nationally and internationally recognized as a leader for its successful and innovative model programming and training. For more information, please visit: http://www.teriinc.org.

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Kenyauda Brewington
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