Downtown Streets Team announced on Tuesday that it has found an interim CEO to replace Eileen Richardson, the nonprofit's retiring founder who launched the organization in Palo Alto nearly two decades ago.
Jim Rettew, who recently served as the interim executive director at the Greater Richmond Interfaith Program (GRIP), will assume the temporary role until a permanent replacement can be found, the San Jose-based organization said in a statement. Downtown Streets Team assists the homeless by hiring them to clean local roads and providing support services, such as giving housing vouchers and mentorship.
The Greater Richmond Interfaith Program is a nonprofit that provides a family homeless shelter, soup kitchen, casework, encampment outreach and other services to homeless people. Rettew's position at the organization was his fourth as an interim director position in the Bay Area. He was the chief communications officer for the American Red Cross in Colorado, the chief external relations officer for the Minnesota Zoo and interim executive director for two environmental nonprofit organizations, Environmental Volunteers and
Slide Ranch. He was also vice president of strategy for CivicMakers, where he led planning and design thinking for large municipalities including Berkeley, Hayward and West Sacramento.
Downtown Streets Team's senior leadership and board of directors said in the statement that the nonprofit is confident Rettew’s extensive and diverse background makes him an ideal interim CEO.
"We are so pleased to have Jim Rettew serve as interim CEO. He brings extensive and well-aligned experience to the DST mission as we move into our next era," Downtown Streets Team board chair Elaine Wood said. "We view this transition period as a unique opportunity to embrace our best contributions to our Team Members and to strive for new ones."
Rettew said he is looking forward to joining the Downtown Streets Team.
"It's an honor to join the DST family to positively transform the lives of those we serve. For the last 17 years, Eileen, board, staff, and team members have developed this program from its conception as a daring idea into an award-winning, evidence-based homelessness intervention program unlike any other. My pledge is to continue their good work and forge an even brighter future," Rettew said in the statement.
Richardson said she "couldn't feel better about handing over the reins to Jim. Jim has proven himself to be passionate, energetic, and empathetic. He’s committed to DST's vision of ending homelessness."
Richardson will be honored for her 17 years of service at Downtown Streets Team's Fall Fest Fundraiser on Nov. 10.