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Monday, March 18 , 2019, 1:04 pm | Fair 68º


Santa Barbara County Red Cross CEO Louise Kolbert Resigns

A statement says she plans to spend time with family and pursue volunteer activities

Louise Kolbert, CEO of the American Red Cross-Santa Barbara County Chapter, announced Friday that she has stepped down from her position in the organization, effective Wednesday.

A statement released from the organization said Kolbert stepped down from the post to “spend time with her family and pursue volunteer activities in Santa Barbara County.”

It said the organization’s disaster services and training classes will continue during the leadership transition. A new search for leadership is ongoing.

Board chairman Les Carroll said Julie Jeakle, a five-year director with the Santa Barbara County Chapter, will oversee operations until new leadership is selected.

“Louise has been a key member of the Red Cross both locally and nationally for many years, particularly in the area of disaster preparedness and response,” Carroll said. “She has greatly contributed to making our community — and our nation — better prepared to respond to disasters. We thank Louise for more than 30 years of service with the Red Cross, and we wish her well in her future endeavors.”

The organization, which works to prepare and respond to emergencies, provided services last year locally to more than 30,000 people. In February, Noozhawk talked with Kolbert about the organization and its Haiti efforts. The chapter was set back nearly $250,000 after donations began flooding into Haiti, as the earthquake hit right when the nonprofit organization receives most of its donations for the year.

Kolbert, who has worked with the Red Cross for decades and has seen it all, told Noozhawk the chapter had been struggling in a tough economy anyway, and funds redirected to Haiti “were a double whammy to us,” she said.

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk or @NoozhawkNews.

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