All posts by KIAC Team

KIAC’s Executive Director Search Update

Dear Friends of KIAC,

In January of this year, I began my role as Interim Executive Director at KIAC. It has truly been my absolute privilege and pleasure working towards KIAC’s mission, both these last seven months and for the prior two years as a legal volunteer and member of the Board of Directors. My time as Interim ED will be coming to an end this fall, and we are excitedly beginning the search for KIAC’s permanent Executive Director. 

In my application and during my interviews back in December, I had expressly committed to accomplishing certain goals by June as KIAC continued its movement from being a volunteer-led to a staff-led and volunteer-supported organization. They include:

  • Operations and finance: Completed a smooth transition of operations including onboarding accountants, streamlining payroll and front office practices, and setting up controls for payments and receipts of monies into KIAC.
  • Fundraising and donor engagement: Upgraded to a new donor management system, continued successful fundraising (including a record-breaking Kitsap Great Give), launched a regular communication strategy via emails and social media, executed the 2021 Annual Report and completed numerous grant applications.
  • Long term strategy and planning: Applied to and accepted by the Service Corps Project with the UW Foster School of Business which conducted a study on potential fundraising strategies for KIAC. The valuable learnings from this study will be incorporated into the fund development plans for 2023 and beyond.
  • Transition from volunteer-led to staff-led and volunteer-supported: KIAC’s staff has grown these last seven months with the addition of an Administrative Assistant and a Paralegal. We are working on a comprehensive benefits package and are making strides to secure funding to attract and retain staff through livable wages. 

We are working on plans to ensure a seamless transition later this year. In collaboration with KIAC’s Leadership Team, the ED Search Committee has worked thoughtfully and deliberately to decide on the skillset and characteristics most necessary for this role. You can see the job description and posting here.

We will be advertising this position on a variety of platforms, but we know that KIAC’s next Executive Director might very well come from within the partners who make this work possible and the communities we serve and are accountable to. Please feel free to share this opportunity with those you know.

I know that KIAC is in capable hands as we begin this transition. My time with KIAC both as staff and volunteer have been the most rewarding and productive, and I remain grateful for this opportunity.

With gratitude,

Thangam Chandrasekaran, Interim Executive Director 

From the Desk of KIAC’s Executive Director

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.

― Margaret Mead 

Dear Friends of KIAC,

At a time when much around us is changing and feels out of control, our work reminds us that we are able to make changes, small and large, in the lives of the individuals and families that we work with at KIAC. 

Here are a few updates from KIAC for the month of June:

  • KIAC conducted a carseat event with the help of Eastside Baby Corner. We did seat checks for 28 children, in 13 families, that came in 12 different vehicles.  EBC distributed 19 car seats or booster seats to these children.
  • In addition to our regular weekday health and dental clinics, we continue to offer a Saturday clinic for those needing services who are unable to attend on a weekday.
  • The University of Washington’s Foster School of Business completed its Service Corps project on fundraising strategies and presented its findings in early June. The learnings from this project will inform our strategy for the coming year.
  • We continue to apply for grants that support and fund our work. We were delighted to hear that Bainbridge Community Foundationapproved our grant application.

Our work at KIAC towards change would not be possible but for the support of committed individuals such as you, and we remain forever grateful.

In Gratitude,

Thangam Chandrasekaran, Executive Director 

From the Desk of KIAC’s Executive Director

Dear Friends of KIAC,

May was a month of high and lows. From a personal standpoint, I received my long awaited letter from USCIS for the final part of my immigration journey – notice of my Citizenship Interview. After restudying for the civics exam, and with all my paperwork in hand, I attended my interview and was sworn in as a US citizen later that same day. I stood with nearly 100 other immigrants from various parts of the world. The whole experience was a positive one for me, and I ended the day feeling grateful about becoming the citizen of this country I’ve called home for the last thirty years of my life.

It was during the same week that we as a country responded to two incidents of mass shootings (and many more have followed). I had to pause and reflect on this reality as I became a citizen. As an immigrant and the head of an immigrant assistance organization, the racial profile of the victims caused even more devastation and concern. As I grappled with the duality of celebrating citizenship while recognizing there is much work to be done, the quote by Dr. King, “Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable … Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals” resonated and brought back gratitude and hope. I know that our team at KIAC and our extended family of volunteers, donors and community organizations is comprised of dedicated individuals who continue to do tireless work with passion. 

Here are a few KIAC highlights from May:

  • In addition to our regular weekday health and dental clinics, we continue to offer a Saturday clinic for those needing services who are unable to attend on a weekday. It continues to be well attended.
  • Dozens of immigrant families received clothing and pantry staples through KIAC’s clothing closet. We had a dental focus for the dry goods we provide with each closet visit. Thank you to those who donated toothbrushes and toothpaste.
  • After rigorous study and hard work, KIAC’s Legal Services Coordinator Carmen completed her Comprehensive Overview of Immigration Law (COIL) course and passed her examination. The COIL course is a necessary prerequisite to becoming an Accredited Representative.
  • KIAC’s Accredited Representatives continued to assist with a variety of immigration legal matters including naturalizations, asylum cases, and green card renewals, among others. We are continuing to experience record-high volumes of calls from immigrants seeking immigration legal representation and support. 
  • We finalized our annual Report to the Community. We are blown away by what KIAC has been able to accomplish thanks to the dedicated support of you, our donors, volunteers and partners. Check it out online here!

This is the first Touchpoint I’ve penned as a citizen of the United States of America. I feel privileged to stand with all of you – dedicated individuals with passionate concern, as we work towards the goals of justice and equity.

In Gratitude,

Thangam Chandrasekaran, Executive Director 

PS. In doing our part to continue combating misinformation, we have debunked a few immigration myths. Please enjoy our “Myths vs. Facts” below.

PPS. Our Marketing & Development Team said that NOT sharing a citizenship photo would be a disservice to our work. You can check it out below.