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Bush stepping down at StepUP

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By Todd Cohen

RALEIGH, N.C. – John Bush has resigned as executive director of StepUP Ministries in Raleigh, effective June 30, after seven years in the job.

A former pastor at Presbyterian congregations in Raleigh and Maxton who later served for 12 years as a consultant to congregations and nonprofits, Bush says he has met his goals at StepUP and wants time to think about his next task.

“I feel I have accomplished what I set out to do at StepUP, and that I needed a new direction,” he says.

In a letter to friends of StepUP, which focuses on helping people in major transitions achieve self-sufficiency, Bush says the organization has completed a new strategic plan.

It also has developed plans for a stronger partnership with White Memorial Presbyterian Church and Temple Beth Or, he says, and has continues to work closely with 13 other congregations that support the organization.

As a result, he says, StepUP should be able to attract strong candidates for executive director.

The StepUP board has named a transition committee, chaired by board member Gray Hutchison.

The committee has hired Philanthropic Advisory Group in Raleigh to conduct a search for a new executive director.

Since Bush joined the organization in November 2000, it has established a program that addresses the employment, education and housing needs of people facing big changes from causes such as the loss of a job, an abusive relationship, incarceration, substance abuse or recovery from substance abuse.

The three-year strategic plan that StepUP has just completed, he says, calls for increasing the quality and efficiency of its programs, and serving more clients.

With an annual budget of $680,000, up from $160,000 when Bush joined StepUP, the organization serves 250 adults and 75 children a year, up from 25 adults and 40 children seven years ago.

StepUP, which employs eight people and counts on 100 volunteers, raises one-fourth of its funds from individuals, another 20 percent form foundations and corporations, and another 10 percent from local congregations.

The group also will receive $250,000 this year from a $1.5 million grant it was awarded four years ago from a community fund created through a gift to White Memorial from an anonymous donor.

The community fund has made annual payments to StepUp, with the annual total declining each year and expected to run out in 2009, Bush says.

StepUP also is the beneficiary of a fund created at the White Memorial Foundation by the family and friends of the late Martha Durfee.

Formed by members of White Memorial, StepUP is housed in a church-owned building across the street the church.

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