Senior Life: ESAC leadership changes

The Ecumenical Social Action Committee, Inc. (ESAC) has a new Interim Executive Director, Emily Morris Litonjua, following the resignation of Bill Minkle.

Meanwhile, its work on funding Egleston Square’s Peace Garden redesign continues.

Founded nearly 50 years ago in Egleston Square, ESAC sponsors a wide array of social service programs and is known for its annual “Taste of JP” fundraiser. The nonprofit made a surprise move of its headquarters to Dorchester last fall, citing the expense of Jamaica Plain office space. Minkle said at the time that its local work will continue.

Litonjua was a long-time board member of ESAC and took up the executive director post in January, she said. Minkle stayed on a couple of weeks to help in the transition, she added.

“Bill was ready to move on to other opportunities,” Litonjua told the Gazette last week.

Even though ESAC has “contracted a little bit” recently, the organization remains strong in its purpose to “act like an incubator for developing programs to address current needs,” Litonjua said.

ESAC is also looking to expand its GED program and its home repairs/aging in place program.

ESAC’s home repairs program aims to provide home repairs and upgrades to seniors so that they are able to remain in their homes.

Litonjua said that the Peace Garden project is also “going well.”

“The design looks great, now we’re just arranging money for it,” she said.

The grant proposal, which is already assembled, she said, is asking for $80,000 to $90,000 “to make all the improvements.” Litonjua said she is expecting to have to apply at multiple sources over at least a year to get the necessary funds.

The Peace Garden property, which is located at the corner of Washington and School Streets, is owned by Clear Channel Outdoor, which has a billboard on the site, but the park is leased by the ESAC. It is a 10-year lease that expires in 2018.

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