The end of an era – and start of a new one – for WRAG’s Healthy Communities Working Group

By Rebekah Seder
Senior Program Manager, Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers

Last Friday, the Healthy Communities Working Group held its annual retreat. The day-long program marked a bittersweet transition: Phyllis Kaye’s final day as the senior program consultant to the working group.

Phyllis has been a leader in the local health funding community for many years. Since 2001, she has been the backbone of the Healthy Communities Working Group (until 2014 known as the Health Working Group). Her thoughtful leadership helped the group evolve from an informal lunch group to a cohesive and coordinated group dedicated to addressing the social determinants of health. Through Phyllis’s leadership, the working group has sparked new collaborations within and outside the group, and found new ways to leverage their individual efforts to improve the health of the region’s residents and communities. As many retreat participants noted, Phyllis will be deeply missed.

Phyllis’s retirement from WRAG was the “bitter” part of the transition. Jenny Schitter’s taking over the consultancy has put a bit of “sweet” into this transition. Jenny has been a member of the HCWG for several years in her role as the principal health planner at the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, a WRAG member organization. She is deeply familiar with both the public health landscape as well as local philanthropy.

WRAG is thrilled to have Jenny take the helm of this working group. And, we are pleased that, thanks to WRAG’s long-standing and strong relationship with MWCOG, we are able to partner with them by “sharing” a staffer. HCWG is in excellent hands with Jenny at the helm.