Jenifer Loon to become eighth person to lead TO SUPPORT in its 50 years of history.
Former Minnesota State Representative from Eden Prairie will assume the role of Executive Director of PROP on January 1, 2022. She will replace Janet Palmer, who is retiring at the end of the year after having served as Executive Director since 2015 .
Loon, a 23-year resident of Eden Prairie, said she was thrilled and humbled to help PROP in its next 50 years of “compassionate service to others.”
Founded in 1971 on the principle of Neighbors Helping Neighbors, PROP (the acronym for People Reaching Out to People) does this by giving time, food and money to those in need.
âIt’s a place whose values ââreally resonate with my personal values,â said Loon. “And this is where I can give back and continue to be a servant leader in the community.”
Loon has been on PROP’s board of directors since 2015, as chairman last year. She and her husband Doug have two adult daughters.
âAs a member of its Board of Directors for the past seven years, it has been a joy to tell the PROP story and share the commitment so many dedicated volunteers and staff have made over the years. to ensure that food, support and hope are shared in abundance with our neighbors in need, âshe said in a statement.
Loon spoke about his new role at the PROP office, 14700 Martin Drive, on Tuesday, November 30.
âWhat’s going on here in this building, who we serve, how they do it, that just ticked a lot of boxes for me in terms of things that I would like to do,â she said.
And, Loon noted that PROP is more than just a food shelf. A lot of people, she added, don’t know.
âObviously, food is our main mission and how we started,â she said. “But we do a lot of counseling people and helping them access other things that they might need.”
Loon said taking an elected position is one of the best experiences she’s ever had.
From 2009 to 2019, the Republican was the Minnesota state representative for District 48B, primarily representing Eden Prairie.
âI have worked hard to be a good representative of all citizens and have greatly appreciated the service and the responsibilities,â she said. âAfter 10 years in office, I have found new ways to serve others in the community, and becoming the new Executive Director of PROP is a humbling and exciting opportunity to continue my servant leadership. “
Focus your attention on PROP
To devote himself to his new role, Loon will quit his current job at the end of the year and retire from some of his other volunteer work.
Loon is currently Senior Policy and Strategy Advisor at EdAllies, a Minneapolis-based nonprofit that works on educational policy reform in the state.
She is also stepping down from her volunteer role as President and CEO of Eden Prairie Local News (EPLN) at the end of the year. EPLN’s mission is to provide independent, non-partisan and hyperlocal news to the community of Eden Prairie.
âIt’s a big job (being the executive director of PROP), and I want to make sure I put the time into it,â Loon said. âI was able to do a lot of volunteering while in my current position, mainly because it was virtual. Honestly, I would say one of the perks of the virtual office is that I can spend time volunteering.
Her other volunteer work includes being the current Rotary Club of Eden Prairie AM president until the end of June 2022. She also sits on the boards of Community school of excellence, a St. Paul charter school, and Raising MN education.
âI’m going to have to divest myself of a lot of what I call my extracurricular activities,â she said. âBut I like to volunteer, I like to be useful, I like to contribute wherever I can, and I have a lot of interests. Education has obviously been one of my main interests.
Dealing with the pandemic
Palmer, who started with PROP in 2008 as an operations manager, said in a statement that she is proud of how PROP continues to evolve by always putting the best interests of clients first.
âFor example, we have placed increased emphasis on fresh, healthy food and a greater choice of customers in our market,â she said. âWe’ve worked hard to make sure everyone in our community feels welcome.â
Palmer thanked the resilience and hard work of the staff and volunteers in helping PROP weather the pandemic by embracing new ways of doing business.
âWe had to pivot quickly, and Janet (Palmer) was just amazing at that,â said Loon, who was chairman of the board when the pandemic hit. âThis place was not closed one day with the pandemic. They made adjustments.
These adjustments included providing a street-side food service, expanding food delivery through a partnership with SouthWest Transit, sourcing food from new vendors, and continuing its financial services remotely. and its case management.
âWhat we have learned will benefit the organization as it progresses,â said Palmer.
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