Community Action Commission gets new leader

Staff Report

Patricia Keelean is the new executive director at the Community Action Commission.

She brings 27 years of nonprofit management experience, having worked in a variety of environments including community action, early intervention and prevention services, child welfare and therapeutic foster care, community-based services, substance-abuse prevention, and youth services.

“We are excited about what the future holds for CAC,” said Bob Freeman, CEO of CenCal Health and chairman of the CAC board.

“I am so honored to join the CAC team, an organization with a long, rich history of providing exceptional services to low-income people in the community,” Keelean said.

“Moving forward, we want to continue focusing on building community partnerships — finding new ways to work together to lift people out of poverty by giving them the education and skills they need to find a job, manage their lives and support their families,” she said.

Keelean, who has moved from Florida, has a track record of implementing innovative, results-oriented initiatives, the commission said.

She holds a master’s degree in counseling from Clemson University, is a national certified master trainer for the Results-Oriented Management and Accountability process for community action agencies, and is a Pathways to Excellence peer reviewer.

Keelean said she is excited to build on the legacy of former executive director Fran Forman, who served the agency for five years as the Children’s Services director and another 12 years as executive director before leaving to move closer to family.

During Forman’s tenure, CAC expanded its Head Start program, created new programs for at-risk teens, expanded facilities for seniors, and increased program services to families in crisis, and those supporting first generation-college bound youth.

CAC has also assumed the operation of 2-1-1 Santa Barbara County, a helpline for anyone seeking information on health and human services.