Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Valle named to succeed Burr as Center executive director

Valle named to succeed Burr as Center executive director
Copyright by The Chicago Free Press
April 25, 2007.

The Center on Halsted reached within its own ranks April 19, selecting longtime community activist Modesto “Tico” Valle to be executive director.

Valle, who’s served as deputy executive director at the Center for the past three years, takes over his new post July 1, replacing Robbin Burr.

“I’m very excited,” Valle said. “It’s an exciting time for all of us at the Center.”

Valle’s selection comes as the Center prepares to move into its new facility at Halsted and Waveland at the end of April. The building includes offices for the Center and its anti-violence project, HIV/AIDS hotline and psychotherapy services, program space for seniors, GLBT youths and others, offices for other community organizations, a theater, basketball/volleyball court, banquet kitchen, rooftop garden and more.

Whole Foods Market is slated to occupy most of the first floor of the building and expects to open July 25.

Burr, a former American Airlines executive, drew praise for leading the Center through its $20-million capital campaign. When she resigned, she said that with the new facility nearing completion, she felt as though she had completed the job she set out to accomplish.

Valle joined in the praise for Burr.

“I have learned a lot from Robbin over the past three years,” he said.
With the Center moving from the planning and building phase into its permanent home, the board of directors didn’t have to look far to find someone with experience working with Chicago’s GLBT community. Valle’s roots in local community activism go back more than two decades.

He founded the Chicago chapter of the NAMES Project and served on that group’s national board. He’s also served on the boards of Equality Illinois and Horizons Community Services, the predecessor to the Center on Halsted. Valle was inducted into the Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame in 1998.

“Tico’s intimate familiarity with the Center on Halsted’s programs and his longstanding relationships with our partners and supporters will ensure our continued success and growth following the opening of the new community center,” said the Center’s board chair, Robert Kohl.

Valle said he’s looking forward to leading the Center in its next phase.
“I just left the building, where I led a community orientation tour,” Valle said April 21. “I think the reaction we’re getting is people are wowed. People are excited about the programs in the Center. It’s our opportunity to spread our wings, and the sky’s the limit.”

The Center’s grand opening gala is June 8, but community groups are to begin using the Center this month, and Valle said a number of special events are also planned throughout May.

“There will be lots of opportunities for the community to be involved and see the Center,” he said. “It’s a true community center for everyone. It’s not just Waveland and Halsted.”

Valle thanked the Center’s board for showing confidence and said he’s put a lot of thought into building a senior management team to fulfill the vision he and the board have for the Center.

“We have a wonderful opportunity to have our programs be premier,” Valle said. “It’s our year of service. It’s our year to shine.”

Valle New Center on Halsted Head
by Andrew Davis
Copyright by The Windy city Media

Center on Halsted’s board of directors has announced that Modesto “Tico” Valle will be promoted to executive director effective July 1. On that date, Valle will have served as the Center’s deputy executive director for three years.
Valle has been a leader of nonprofit organizations and an LGBT activist in Chicago since 1986. He has served on the boards of Equality Illinois and Horizons Community Services ( now Center on Halsted ) , and on the national board of the NAMES Project Foundation. Valle also founded NAMES Project Chicago and served as its board chairman.

Valle was appointed acting executive director of Horizons/Center on Halsted in 2002 and served in that capacity until 2004, when Center on Halsted hired Robbin Burr. Burr and Valle then worked together on the Center’s programs and to complete the organization’s $20 million capital campaign for a new building on 3656 N. Halsted that will celebrate its grand opening in June. Burr will step down in what she told Windy City Times in January ( when the Center announced her exit ) is “a well-thought-out and good business decision, both for the Center and me.”

“Tico’s expertise and experience were invaluable to me when I arrived from the corporate sector,” Burr said in a statement announcing Valle’s appointment. “I was able to place complete faith in Tico’s ability to manage staff and programs, enabling me to go out and successfully increase our fundraising and expand constituencies.” Valle added that he has “learned a lot from Robbin over the past three years.”

The announcement regarding Valle ends a selection process that began in January. A committee chaired by COH board member Denise Foy conducted the search.

A public dedication ceremony of the new building is planned for the first week in June, to be followed by a gala opening celebration, Out & Open, on June 8.

In addition to numerous programs, the new Center on Halsted will house many LGBT community organizations, including the Association for Latino Men for Action ( ALMA ) , Amigas Latinas, 4+1 Productions, the Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, and the Windy City Rainbow Alliance of the Deaf.

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