Beachy to leave Peaceful Paths, lead nonprofit center for Community Foundation

Dr. Theresa Beachy
Dr. Theresa Beachy
Courtesy Community Foundation of North Central Florida

Dr. Theresa Beachy will leave her role as executive director of Peaceful Paths, Alachua County’s certified domestic violence center, to lead the Center for Nonprofit Excellence at the Community Foundation of North Central Florida.  

The Community Foundation started the center in 2015 and announced Beachy as the new head in a Wednesday announcement. The center aims to increase the effectiveness of local nonprofits through training, access to resources and networking opportunities.  

“Her extensive experience in nonprofit leadership and her passion for social justice will be invaluable as we continue to support and strengthen the nonprofit sector in North Central Florida,” said Barzella Papa, president and CEO of the Community Foundation, in a press release. 

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In a phone interview, Beachy said she was excited about the challenges ahead and using her skills and experiences to help nonprofits, a sector she strongly supports. 

Beachy has led Peaceful Paths for 24 years. Before that, she taught social studies in Hardee County and worked as principal of a wilderness education program for at-risk boys in the Ocala National Forest.    

Beachy said she’s most proud of the Dutton-Schilling Emergency Shelter that Peaceful Paths opened nearly nine years ago. 

“That campus is by far the thing that I am most proud of in my professional life,” Beachy said. 

Beachy added that Peaceful Paths already has someone planned to step into the interim executive director role. She said that announcement would likely come before the nonprofit’s 50th anniversary celebration in June, allowing the public to meet the new leader.  

Beachy will begin with the Center for Nonprofit Excellence in July as organizational strategist. In the role, she will work to “create capacity in critical social change agencies and mission driven nonprofits in our region.” 

“We really have to shift the conversation to a more, I think, modernized view of the work that nonprofits do,” Beachy said.  

While nonprofits play a critical role in the social services and safety net sector, Beachy said they’re also businesses with a specific mission.  that we really do play a critical role, not only in the social services and safety net sector, but we’re also businesses 

She said nonprofits need supporters to change from viewing their support as charitable giving or generosity to seeing it as an investment. 

Beachy said the role is one of the best opportunities she could have wished for as she enters her “third act,” following her time as a teacher and then director of Peaceful Paths. 

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