Dear Challenge family,  

As you may have heard by now, after six years at Challenge Workforce Solutions, I am now preparing to transition into a new role as Executive Director at Hospicare & Palliative Care Services. I am scheduled to start there on February 15, but I will be continuing to serve Challenge in a part-time advisory capacity as we finalize an exciting new community alliance that will offer us financial sustainability and a chance to grow our mission.  

Hospicare, in case you aren’t familiar, is an amazing nonprofit organization here in Tompkins County that provides medical expertise and compassionate care to those at any stage of a life-threatening illness, as well as support and information about end-of-life issues to loved ones and the entire community. For me, this is chance to continue my own path of helping to strengthen and grow iconic health and human services organizations—like Challenge, Planned Parenthood of the Southern Finger Lakes (now Planned Parenthood of Greater New York), and the Geiger Gibson Community Health Center in Boston (the first Federally Qualified Health Center in the country).  

Of course, I will dearly miss Challenge—from greeting our amazing participants at the bus stop, to helping to wash dishes at Cornell or Ithaca College, and, yes, even the doughnut sale. I’ve had a chance to see that helping people live a life with dignity is a great gift itself. Over the past six years, we’ve overcome financial peril, refocused on our core mission, and built a phenomenal team of staff, board members, and community supporters. Together, we have accomplished so much—and Challenge has a bright future ahead.  

We’re still hammering out some small but important details on our new alliance––and that’s why I’ll be sticking around to help—but you can be sure that we will keep you informed as it is completed. For right now, I can say with great confidence that our agencies share a deep, decades-long commitment to empowering people with disabilities and other barriers, and that this alliance will allow Challenge to maintain its special role in Tompkins County as well as to expand into new geographical territories, program areas, and employment sectors.  

In short, as I leave Challenge, I know I am leaving it in the most capable and caring of hands. 

Going forward, if you have questions about development and community relations at Challenge, you can contact Tess Fraser at tess@aboutchallenge.org and if you have any operational or other concerns, you can contact Ebru Arslan at ebru@aboutchallenge.org. 

As for me, I am so grateful for your enduring support of our mission. If you have any questions or concerns or simply want to chat, please feel free to contact me directly at joes@aboutchallenge.org, jsammons@hospicare.org, or on my cell phone at 607-379-2045. 

Warmly,  

Joe Sammons
Executive Director
Challenge Workforce Solutions

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