Springfield-based nonprofit Care to Learn this month named two new leaders as its longtime executive director retires.
Morey Mechlin, who worked as executive director of the Foundation for Springfield Public Schools for a decade prior to joining Care to Learn, is slated to retire at the end of the month after holding the job since 2009.
“Morey has worked hard for Care to Learn, for Springfield, for Missouri, for poverty. It’s just a chance for her to take a breath,” co-founder Doug Pitt said yesterday at Care to Learn’s Creamery Arts Center headquarters, 411 N. Sherman Parkway.
Mechlin, 62, said she would continue to be an advocate for Care to Learn, as well as serve in volunteer community roles, but she would not seek another paid job.
“Care to Learn needed more energy and time than I was able to give it,” she said, noting she approached Pitt and the nonprofit’s board in June to announce her retirement.
Succeeding her, effective Oct. 1, is Linda Ramey-Greiwe, a former president and publisher at Springfield News-Leader. Care to Learn also named former state Rep. Sara Lampe its deputy director, a newly created salaried position, said Pitt, who co-founded the organization in 2008.
Ramey-Greiwe left the News-Leader in June after over 28 years with media publishing company Gannett Co. Inc. (NYSE: GCI) and four years as publisher of the Springfield daily newspaper. While at the News-Leader, Ramey-Greiwe was a supporter of its Every Child
poverty series that examined red-flag issues in the community.
“We vetted a lot of strong candidates, and I just felt that Linda was the best one,” Pitt said, declining to disclose the number of job applicants.
Ramey-Greiwe said she left Gannett to find a new challenge, specifically in the nonprofit realm.
“I really felt a calling to leave that and do something where I was more directly in the community and impacting the community,” she said. “Care to Learn has really focused on increasing the number of chapters throughout the state. Following Morey will be a challenge because she’s done an amazing job.”
Pitt said Lampe’s background as a legislator, as well as an educator, would lend well to her role with Care to Learn.
“The fact that her career has been in education just cemented that. It’s a win-win for Care to Learn,” he said.
Care to Learn provides health, hunger and hygiene products to children in school districts via 24 chapters, Pitt said, noting the nonprofit has received requests from communities in other states but currently is only focusing on Missouri. The farthest community from Springfield is Union Star, north of Kansas City, he said.
“We want to grow where it makes sense,” Ramey-Greiwe said. “Doug had a vision. It’s run like a business. It requires the school system to be engaged. It requires the community to be engaged. But then they get to use the best practices and processes that Care to Learn has developed, so it really is a three-pronged approach that has been very successful in other markets.
“We really want to continue to use that.”
As of July 1, the nonprofit had filled over 500,000 requests for such items as clothes, shampoo, hearing aids and backpacks loaded with food. In 2008, Pitt was supported by his actor brother Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie through their Jolie-Pitt Foundation and Springfield businessman Jim D. Morris. With its executive director role filled, Doug Pitt said Care to Learn would consider new communities to support.