Palm Beach County AIDS House Seeks New DirectorHope House of the Palm Beaches, Palm Beach County's "most established" AIDS organization, is seeking a new director after the departure of former director David Walker sent the agency "pitching ... into uncertainty," the Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel reports. Walker became director five years ago after former director Robert Greijack pled guilty to stealing money from the agency and was ordered to repay $313,870. According to the Sun-Sentinel, the agency "thrived" under Walker, who helped open an office in Delray Beach with a Creole-speaking staff to target the area's Haitian community. The agency also was recognized by the Department of Housing and Urban Development as a "best practices" program in August for its Women and Children's Center. In September, Hope House received an $894,000 grant from the city of West Palm Beach -- a 49% increase over the previous year -- for housing people with AIDS. Hope House serves approximately 200 people a day through its housing programs and reaches an additional 150 through outreach, education and case management.
The agency was hit again with "controversy" last spring when it was sued by Quantum Foundation, a "major Palm Beach County funder," for allegedly misusing half of a $500,000 grant that was intended to build cottages for children at St. Mary's Medical Center. The case was settled out of court in a "confidential agreement." The United Way also temporarily withheld $85,300 in grant money when an audit found "trouble with money management and board oversight." The money has since been released and United Way "continues to monitor the situation." Hope House is now conducting a national search for a new director with "strong administrative skills, financial expertise and a social-work background," according to board chair Mami Kisner, who is currently performing the agency's daily operations. The new director will also need to be able to "ease deep-pocket donors' jitters" in light of the agency's former money problems, according to local nonprofit experts (Gruskin, Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, 3/5).