The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

June 27, 2013

Changes coming: New CSCF director a familiar face

By Robert Barron, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle

ENID, Okla. — There are changes coming to Cherokee Strip Community Foundation.

Ashley Ewbank, who has been executive director of the foundation just over four years, announced she is leaving for another job, and former director Mary Stallings will return as director. Stalling starts July 15.

“It’s a good job, “ Ewbank said.

Ewbank has accepted a job with Farmer’s Insurance to have more time to spend with her two young boys. She said the job is a great opportunity for her family.

“It will allow more time with my kids and more time to do the mom thing,” Ewbank said. “It’s an opportunity that presented itself, and because of the ages of my kids, it’s a opportunity I couldn’t pass up.”

She and her husband, Drew, have two boys, ages 10 and 7.

Ewbank said she has been involved in nonprofit work for the past 10 years and leaving is a bittersweet experience because of all the work done by nonprofits. The foundation has grown more than $3 million since her arrival and now stands at $13.7 million in assets.

Cherokee Strip Community Foundation accepts proposals from non-profit organizations in the Cherokee Strip region and awards grants up to $10,000 for special projects and programs as well as equipment.

Enid Community Foundation was funded by a $1.8 million challenge match from the Sisters of Mercy. Over the past 10 years the foundation has acquired more than $10 million in assets and has distributed more than $3 million in grants, according to its website.

“The people I’ve worked with and met through the foundation have been supportive, and it’s been incredible to work with all the nonprofits in Enid,” Ewbank said.

Ewbank is from Hennessey and graduated from Oklahoma State University with a degree in public relations/marketing. Her husband is an attorney with Ewbank, Hennigh and McVay.

“I’ve loved the foundation and the people I’ve met and the opportunity to help the nonprofits in the community, but when an opportunity knocks you can’t turn it down,” she said.

David Grissett, president of Cherokee Strip Community Foundation, said he was sorry to see Ewbank leave, but felt fortunate to have Stallings returning.

He said there is a month overlap between Ewbank’s departure and Stallings taking over the job, so Stallings could talk individually to each member of the board of trustees, members and many donors.

“That will give her time to do that while we’re still doing the everyday work of the foundation,” Grissett said. “Ashley has been a good director, we’re pleased.”

Ewbank informed the board a month ago she was leaving and gave them sufficient notice to find another director. In a phone call to seek advice and to get Stallings to be a member of the search committee, Stallings said she would be interested in returning full time, Grissett said.

“I feel really lucky,” he said. “The executive board was ecstatic about it. We have no problems with Ashley, she’s doing a great job. I was upset when she said she would leave, but the timing couldn’t be better. It’s a win-win deal for everybody.”

Stallings was involved with the community foundation almost from its inception and was the first executive director. She served from 2003 until 2009, then retired to spend time with children and grandchildren, he said.

“It’s not a real job for her. With Mary, it’s a passion she has and she’s very good at it. I’m lucky she was interested in coming back,” Grissett said.

Stallings was out of town on vacation and could not be reached for comment.