Sunday, March 18 , 2018, 6:48 am | Fair 42º


Melinda Johansson Rejoins Easy Lift Transportation as Development Director

She returns after a 'much-needed' three-year break from social service fundraising

Easy Lift Transportation is pleased to announce the rehiring of Melinda Johansson as its development director. Johansson took a self-proclaimed “much-needed break” from social service fundraising of almost three years.

Melinda Johansson
Melinda Johansson

“At this critical stage in Easy Lift’s history, I am very pleased to bring Melinda back,” said Ernesto Paredes, Easy Lift’s executive director. “We are poised to make an even bigger difference for the community, and Melinda’s expertise in fundraising and marketing will help us reach our goals of serving more people and organizations who need our help.”

“Melinda is a breath of fresh air,” said Mac Johnson, Easy Lift’s board president and co-owner of Home Instead Senior Care for Santa Barbara County. “Having worked with her in the past, it was a great pleasure to learn that she was returning as Easy Lift’s development director. I look forward to working with her again.”

First on the agenda for Easy Lift is the need to increase individual donor fundraising revenue, primarily because of the declining government funding, which currently constitutes 45 percent of Easy Lift’s income, as well as the agency’s goal of serving all the community’s specialized transportation needs (not just those required by the Americans with Disability Act). Expansion of its marketing program is also a top priority.

“Many people are aware of Easy Lift in the abstract but aren’t aware of the depth and breadth of the services being offered and the impact we are having throughout South Santa Barbara County,” Paredes said.

Johansson has more than a decade of nonprofit fundraising and marketing experience, in addition to nearly 20 years in the corporate arena specializing in business administration, marketing and public relations. She received her bachelor of arts degree in English from UCLA.

“I am thrilled to be back with my co-workers and friends at Easy Lift,” Johansson said. “What made it an easy (pardon the pun) decision is the trust and respect I have for my friend and boss, Ernesto. He is an amazing leader who has created a tremendous work environment for the staff and I’m very much looking forward to helping launch our new marketing and fundraising efforts.”

Easy Lift’s mission is to provide independence, dignity and improved quality of life to individuals and organizations by fulfilling the community’s need for specialized transportation services.

Since its start 33 years ago operating with just one vehicle, Easy Lift has become a vital community presence as the sole paratransit provider of Dial-A-Ride services for south Santa Barbara County. With 21 wheelchair-accessible vans in its fleet, Easy Lift has developed a comprehensive team of fully certified drivers and experienced operations department which has been crucial to keep up with the expanding aging community. This past fiscal year Easy Lift scheduled more than 80,000 ADA rides within their service area from Winchester Canyon to Carpinteria.

Easy Lift is considerably challenged because Santa Barbara County has more than 65,000 individuals with some form of disability, many of whom rely on them for transit service. Every day, Easy Lift has to turn away ride requests due to the constant increases in demand for specialized transportation, particularly as the population continues to age.

Click here for more information about Easy Lift or to make a donation. Johansson can be reached at 805.845.8963 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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