Director of LGBT Community Center abruptly resigns

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Colleen Carpenter

After just eight months on the job, Colleen Carpenter, executive director of the Milwaukee LGBT Community Center, resigned yesterday. No reason was given for Carpenter’s abrupt departure.

"I have been honored to serve the LGBT community in this role, but I have decided to move in a different direction professionally," Carpenter said in a prepared statement.

Community-building initiatives, day-to-day management of the center and fundraising efforts will continue uninterrupted under the leadership of Karen Gotzler, who also filled those roles during the search that ended with the selection of Carpenter in October 2013.

“The Center's board of directors is committed to quickly filling the position permanently,” wrote the board in press release.

A statement released by board co-president Tina Kreitlow thanked Carpenter for “her strong commitment to the well-being of the LGBT community.”

"Colleen leaves the center in a stable financial condition. Most recently, she secured a $10,000 grant to support Project Q, the Center's core youth program," said co-president Paul Williams. "In addition, she has developed new programming initiatives that will continue to shape the center's future."

Prior to joining the center, Carpenter was executive director of Daystar Inc., a Milwaukee-based organization that provides long-term transitional housing for women fleeing domestic violence. She has more than 25 years of experience working for nonprofits in the areas of domestic violence prevention, housing for people living with AIDS and youth services.

Carpenter was selected for the position from a field of 58 candidates.

Carpenter’s departure from the center follows the similarly abrupt resignation of Cream City Foundation president and CEO Paul Fairchild last month. No reason for Fairchild’s sudden departure was given.

Williams stressed that the center has undergone a dramatic financial turnaround over the past year, although people associated with the center say that some formerly full-time positions have been cut to part-time in recent months.

This is a developing story.

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