Citing the retirement of its founder and Executive Director, Steve Wessler, the Board of Trustees of the Center for Preventing Hate announces that it will be winding down operations over the next several months. Additionally, the Center is seeking to transfer key programs to allied organizations to ensure that the Center’s core mission of working with young people and adults to prevent and respond to bias, harassment, and violence will continue to benefit Maine people. The Center’s Board of Trustees learned earlier this year that Wessler was planning to leave the Center for Preventing Hate in December 2012 to pursue writing, teaching and other work.
After concluding it is unlikely to find a new Executive Director with the unique blend of passion, experience and fundraising ability of Wessler, the Board examined the viability of continuing the Center without Wessler at the helm, and ultimately decided to work with him to bring the organization’s activities gradually to a close in a way that will allow the Center’s work to be carried on into the future.
It is a decision the Board makes with deep gratitude for Wessler’s years of leadership and vision.
“The Center for Preventing Hate, under the leadership of Steve Wessler and with the aid of a highly skilled and dedicated staff, has led the way in helping our schools and communities adjust to major societal changes for more than a decade. On very sensitive and emotional issues, the Center has guided us in how we can improve as citizens and members of our communities. As an individual, I have learned from its programs – and Lewiston-Auburn is a better place because of the work the Center has done here,” said Chip Morrison, President, Androscoggin County Chamber of Commerce.
“For 12 years, the Center for Preventing Hate has helped to keep schools and communities safe, giving students and citizens the tools to understand and combat the bias that so often leads to harassment and violence,” said Board President Diane Kenty. “The students and community members who have received training from the Center will continue to make a difference in Maine and beyond through their strong, informed advocacy for tolerance and civility,” Kenty added.
The Center for Preventing Hate will be conducting “training-the-trainers” conferences to prepare school personnel and others to lead bias prevention workshops in their institutions. Additionally, the Center will explore with other nonprofit organizations possibilities to assume both programmatic and fiscal responsibility for the Center’s key New Migration and Unity Projects.