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CAMP Rehoboth announces search for new executive director

LGBTQ center retains search firm to help in selection of new leader

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‘The next executive director will play a pivotal role in the completion, and execution of CAMP Rehoboth’s new strategic plan,’ said CAMP Rehoboth Board President Wesley Combs. (Blade file photo by Daniel Truitt)

CAMP Rehoboth, the Rehoboth Beach, Del., based LGBTQ community services center, announced on Thursday that it has launched a search for its next executive director and has retained the national search firm Cooper Coleman to assist.

In a Jan. 19 statement, the group says the new candidate will replace Lisa Evans, who has been serving as Interim Director since the previous executive director, David Mariner, left the position to start a new Delaware LGBTQ advocacy group called Sussex Pride.

Prior to starting as CAMP Rehoboth’s executive director in 2019 Mariner served as executive director for the D.C. Center for the LGBT Community.

“Our number one priority has been and remains to stay laser-focused on ensuring CAMP Rehoboth continues to meet the needs of the LGBTQ+ community in greater Sussex County today and into the future,” said CAMP Rehoboth Board President Wesley Combs. “Thanks to Lisa’s leadership, CAMP Rehoboth remains strong and vibrant, helping provide the next Executive Director with a strong foundation to carry the organization forward,” Combs said.

“CAMP Rehoboth is the largest community center serving the needs of the LGBTQ+ people in Rehoboth Beach and the surrounding area, greater Sussex County and throughout the state of Delaware,” the statement announcing the search for a new director says.

The statement notes that Cooper Coleman is an LGBT-owned firm certified by the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce that has experience working with nonprofit organizations, including organizations focused on LGBTQ-related issues, in conducting searches for leaders of those organizations.

“Cooper Coleman’s references spoke highly of its comprehensive discovery process conducting stakeholder interviews with staff, board, donors, volunteers, and community members,” Combs said in the CAMP Rehoboth statement. “This helps ensure the job description and leadership profile accurately reflect the qualifications necessary for CAMP Rehoboth to continue being a lifeline for the LGBTQ community in today’s uncertain times,” he said.

“The next executive director will play a pivotal role in the completion, and execution of CAMP Rehoboth’s new strategic plan,” Combs added. “It is our hope that the candidate will be in place by Memorial Day 2023.”

According to its release, CAMP Rehoboth seeks a candidate who has successfully led or held a leadership position within a significant and growing organization where they had the opportunity to:

● represent that organization effectively to the public,
● lead a diverse management team,
● develop significant experience in fundraising,
● do strategic thinking and planning,
● work with the board of directors, and
● lead or contribute to organizational change efforts.

In addition to this direct experience, CAMP Rehoboth seeks candidates who have held leadership roles in the LGBTQ+ movement. Learn more about the search and how to apply at coopercoleman.com/current-searches.

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Rehoboth Beach

Former CAMP Rehoboth official pleads guilty to felony theft

Salvatore Seeley faces possible jail time, agrees to reimburse $176,000

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(Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Salvatore “Sal” Seeley, who served as an official at the Rehoboth Beach, Del., CAMP Rehoboth LGBTQ community center for 20 years, has pleaded guilty to a felony charge of Theft In Excess of $50,000 for allegedly embezzling  funds from the organization for at least a two-and-a-half-year period, according to a Sussex County, Del., Superior Court indictment and a spokesperson for the Delaware Office of the Attorney General.

The spokesperson, Mat Marshall, sent the Blade a copy of the indictment, which he said was handed down against Seeley on Feb. 27 and which provides the only specific court information that the Washington Blade could immediately obtain.

“Salvatore C. Seeley, between the 27th day of February 2019 and the 7th day of September 2021, in the County of Sussex, State of Delaware, did take property belonging to Camp Rehoboth, Inc., consisting of United States currency and other miscellaneous property valued at more than $50,000, intending to appropriate same,” the indictment states.

“I can further confirm that the Defendant entered a guilty plea to one count of Theft in Excess of $50,000,” spokesperson Marshall told the Blade in an email message. “Mr. Seeley also agrees to make restitution of $176,199.78 to CAMP Rehoboth,” Marshall said. “He will be sentenced on April 5 and does face the possibility of prison time.”

Marshall declined to provide additional information on the findings of the law enforcement investigation into Seeley’s alleged theft. The restitution figure of $176,199.79 suggests investigators believe Seeley embezzled at least that amount from CAMP Rehoboth during the time he worked for the organization.

Seeley couldn’t immediately be reached for comment

CAMP Rehoboth describes itself as a nonprofit LGBTQ community service organization and the largest organization of its type “serving the needs of LGBTQ+ people in Rehoboth, greater Sussex County, and throughout the state of Delaware.” The statement adds that the organization “is dedicated to creating a positive environment inclusive of all sexual orientations and gender identities in Rehoboth and its related communities.”

Kim Leisey, who began her job as executive director of CAMP Rehoboth in July of 2023, said it was her understanding that officials with the organization discovered funds were missing and opened an investigation in September of 2021, a short time before Seeley left the organization. Leisey said that at the time of his departure, Seeley served as CAMP Rehoboth’s director of health and wellness programs. 

At that time, former D.C. Center for the LGBT Community director David Mariner was serving as CAMP Rehoboth’s executive director and reportedly took steps to open an investigation into missing funds. Wesley Combs, CAMP Rehoboth’s current board president, said Seeley resigned from his job around that time in 2021.

“I know that I took this job knowing there was a concern and a problem and an investigation,” Leisey told the Blade. “And I also know that the board of CAMP Rehoboth has done everything it needs to do to ensure that we were compliant, cooperative and that things are going really well here at CAMP Rehoboth.”

Leisey said CAMP Rehoboth currently has a staff of six full-time employees and several contract employees. She said the organization has a current annual budget of $1.4 million.

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Rehoboth Beach

Comings & Goings

Jim Endean joins BSD in Rehoboth Beach

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Jim Endean

The Comings & Goings column is about sharing the professional successes of our community. We want to recognize those landing new jobs, new clients for their business, joining boards of organizations and other achievements. Please share your successes with us at: [email protected].

Congratulations to Jim Endean on his new position as Director of Design and Business Development at BSD in Rehoboth Beach, Del. 

“I am joining the BSD team to cultivate and grow their cabinetry division creating kitchens, baths, mudrooms, and beyond,” he said. 

Prior to this he was with Atlantic Kitchen & Bath LLC, Lewes, Del., and was SVP New Business Development with Innomark Communications, New York. He has worked in corporate retail and brand design presentation for department stores, Nike, and Calvin Klein. He began his career with May Co. – Kaufmann’s, Hecht’s and Strawbridges divisions. His focus was on creating and executing brand vision for experiential customer environments at retail. He then translated that experience into the retail technology arena where he sold and implemented state-of-the-art 3D visual design and merchandising software transforming the way retailers and brands presented their identities to mass markets. Endean then went into residential interior design. He grew up in New England and Western Pennsylvania. He spent 20 years in corporate positions in New York City. He has been a visitor to Rehoboth Beach for 26 years and moved to the beach permanently in 2020. He lives there with his husband John, an architect, and their dog Levi. 

Endean earned his bachelor’s degree in Communications and Marketing, Robert Morris University, Pittsburgh.

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Rehoboth Beach

Rehoboth Beach theater announces new managing director

Clear Space hires Joe Gfaller after national search

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Joe Gfaller starts his new role in November.

Rehoboth Beach’s Clear Space Theatre Company announced Tuesday that its board of directors has unanimously selected Joe Gfaller to join the company as managing director after a national search. 

Gfaller, who currently serves as managing director for Metro Theater Company in St. Louis, will join Artistic Director David Button as co-leader at CSTC, which marks its 20th anniversary in 2024.

“I am thrilled at the opportunity to help Clear Space Theatre Company grow its civic and philanthropic footprint as it begins a third decade of serving the community in coastal Delaware,” Gfaller said.

“Rehoboth is a special place to all who call it home, both year-round and seasonally. It is an extraordinary honor to work with such a creative and dynamic team as the CSTC staff and board to help the company grow to represent and reflect the fullness of this community.”

At Metro Theater Company, which is St. Louis’s primary professional theater for youth and families, Gfaller guided campaigns that helped grow the company’s revenues by 40% over four years, according to a release from Clear Space.

“Joe brings a wide range of theater experiences to the position and is sure to make an immediate impact on the company,” said Clear Space Board chair Laura Lee Mason. “His impressive track record and visionary leadership will undoubtedly elevate Clear Space to new heights. Joe shares our dedication to providing the community with outstanding education and theatrical experiences, and we look forward to collaborating with him to achieve those artistic aspirations.”

CSTC Artistic Director David Button added, “I look forward to Clear Space Theatre Company’s growth alongside Joe Gfaller. Not only will Clear Space benefit from his talent, but so will the community and state arts industry as a whole.”

Gfaller will begin full time in Rehoboth Beach in mid-November. During an October visit for the opening of “Young Frankenstein” at CSTC on Oct. 13, there will be opportunities for the public to meet him during the CAMP Rehoboth Street Festival on Oct. 15. He will be joined by his husband Kraig and their two dogs, Sprout and Emmit.

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