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New CEO Ed Stonefelt Takes the Helm of Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse

He plans to put his background in banking and finance to use in helping the organization face its challenges

The Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse has a new leader at its helm, and Ed Stonefelt says he's excited to lead the organization and its passionate employees into the future.

The nonprofit organization was founded in 1949, and its mission revolves around building a safer, healthier community by preventing and treating alcoholism and drug abuse.

Stonefelt began as the new CEO and president of the organization on July 1, replacing former CEO Penny Jenkins as she retired. Jenkins had long been the face of CADA in the community, and had served in that position since 1985.

Noozhawk sat down with Stonefelt to hear about his background and where he's excited to see the organization go.

Stonefelt has a background in banking and finance and has lived in Santa Barbara with his wife, Sally, for 35 years. They have three grown children, all graduates of Santa Barbara High School.

Stonefelt formerly worked with Santa Barbara Bank & Trust and Santa Barbara Savings and Loan, and said working with CADA provided the opportunity to work with a large organization serving the community.

"It's such a big and diverse organization," he said. "I felt my skills would be put to good use."

The organization has programming for nearly every age group, from the Daniel Bryant Youth & Family Treatment Center to Project Recovery to Youth Service Specialists that work in the area's junior and high schools.

The organization has about 93 full-time positions and an annual budget in excess of $5 million.

That funding also comes from a variety of different sources, as varied as foundation funding and major donations as well as federal, county and state dollar, and those funding streams can be complex to navigate.

That diversification is a good thing in Stonefelt's view, especially since any one stream could dry up in a given year.

When asked about some of the organization's biggest upcoming challenges, Stonefelt named the Affordable Care Act, and implementing any new rules that follow, as a big task.

Under the new law, which goes into effect Jan. 1, more people most likely will qualify for Medi-Cal, which will have expanded treatment options for drug and alcohol recovery.

With more members and more services being offered, paperwork is likely to increase for community-based organizations like CADA.

Because Stonefelt doesn't have a clinical background, "I'm continuing to learn about our programs," he said. "I feed off the passion our agency has. It just creates such a responsibility on me to keep it as vibrant as ever."

Continuing CADA's focus on treatment and prevention with youth is a priority for him.

Stonefelt's wife, Sally, has worked as a school psychologist at San Marcos High School, for 10 years, and worked as a special-education teacher prior to that.

The pair are originally from Anchorage, Alaska, and Stonefelt first came to Southern California when he was awarded a baseball scholarship at Chapman University. His wife began her graduate school work at CSU Fullerton, and the pair moved Santa Barbara in 1978.

"Santa Barbara's sense of community really differentiates it from other places," he said. "People are very involved here and they care."

Stonefelt said the new position presented a way for him to contribute to that sense of community.

"This is about as meaningful a way as I can think of," he said.

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper can be reached at [email protected]. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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