Category Archives: Touchpoint

From the Desk of KIAC’s Executive Director

Dear Friends,

What a month January 2022 has been! I started in my new role as Interim ED at KIAC, and we added 3 more staff members while keeping our offices closed for 2 weeks due to Covid. It really speaks to the extraordinary team here at KIAC, that in spite of all the challenges and new faces, we were able to accomplish so much. Here are a few of the highlights. 

  • KIAC assisted our partner Peninsula Community Health Services in the vaccination of 134 community members.
  • KIAC conducted our regular health and dental clinics during the month – helping dozens of immigrants access care.
  • One of our legal volunteers became an Accredited Representative (AR) after going through a rigorous process of study and working with our certified ARs on multiple cases.
  • From an operational perspective January included
    • Consolidating our payroll and accounting services with one provider, resulting in paychecks twice a month.
    • Working toward migrating to a new donor database system (Bloomerang).

In the current month we are looking forward to

  • Piloting a Saturday health clinic on a test basis to accommodate those who are unable to come to clinics on a weekday. This will be in addition to our regular health clinics.
  • A second Covid vaccine clinic in late February at the Gateway Center in Bremerton for anyone over age 5.
  • Sending out a call inviting volunteers to assist KIAC clients in tax preparation service.
  • Going live with our new donor database system (Bloomerang).

Although I am not new to KIAC or the work we do for immigrants in our community, completing my first month as Executive Director has solidified my understanding of the ever-growing need for KIAC within our community and the importance of KIAC’s partnerships – with our volunteers, partner organizations, clients and all of you. Thank you for your support of the work KIAC does for our immigrant neighbors. 

In Partnership,

Thangam Chandrasekaran, Executive Director


Dear KIAC Friends and Partners, 

It’s been an honor to be a part of the KIAC team for the past four years. It is, therefore, a bittersweet moment for me to announce my retirement. I will be leaving behind good friends and colleagues, and good work that has challenged and inspired me. 

A little over four years ago, I drove to Bremerton for a job interview for a position with Kitsap Immigrant Assistance Center. I didn’t know very much about the organization, other than that they were doing meaningful, on-the-ground work, assisting and empowering immigrants in our region, a population that was under attack by the Administration at the time. 

The interview was held in a tiny office space that lacked heat and hot water and flooded during heavy rainfall. But from those first meetings with staff members/founders, Martitha May and Ray Garrido, and two board members, I knew I wanted to be a part of the work at KIAC. I joined as Executive Director in November 2017. 

A lot has happened over these four years.  For one thing, while our office still isn’t very fancy, we now have ample space in which to do our work, we have both heat and hot water, and the only flooding I’ve seen came from the upstairs tenant’s plumbing. 

Thanks to an amazing group of staff and board members, a cadre of devoted volunteers, and our generous donors and supporters, KIAC has changed in many ways.  We have grown in staff/volunteer size, in the number of programs and services we offer, and in the financial stability that underpins our work. We’ve weathered political storms and a world-wide pandemic. And through it all — every day — this incredible team has shown up and brought their best efforts to the work. Our clients bring their best as well, working hard to make better lives for their families and contributing so much to our community.

The need for succession planning has been clear to me for some time. Last summer, I asked the Executive Committee to begin the process of planning for my successor. I informed the full board at the October meeting. The arrival of my first grandchild has shifted my priorities in a happy way, and the recent recurrence of a health issue made it clear that this is the right time for me to step away from the pressures of the position.

After my announcement in October, the board formed a committee to create a well-executed and positive transition. The committee will keep you informed as the succession plan progresses. I have been working with them and will assist with the transition so that KIAC’s good work continues uninterrupted.

From a personal perspective, this has been a difficult decision.  I’ve been in the non-profit world since 1986, and I’ve worked for big organizations with large staffs, budgets, and endowments. But I’ve never been connected to people as committed and generous as all of you. 

KIAC has always been a team effort, and I am so honored to have been part of this team. I look forward to assisting with the transition and am excited to see what comes next. I thank you all for the opportunity to have been a part of KIAC.
With gratitude,

Sally Tellekson, Executive Director – KIAC