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Al Rider steps away from foundation leadership

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Successor announced during community gathering

By Kelly Cantrall

A change in leadership in the Central Kentucky Community Foundation takes place at the beginning of the next year.

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CKCF President and CEO Al Rider announced Friday his retirement from the leadership position. Davette Swiney, vice president, steps in upon Rider’s departure.

Rider, speaking to community members assembled at Nolin RECC, said a love of the job one does can make it “difficult to see clearly when it is time to quit.” But he knows this a good step for the organization, he said.

“It is time for a new face, a fresh perspective, ideas and thinking,” he said.

Rider’s last day is Jan. 31 and Swiney takes over Feb. 1. Rider still plans to work part-time with the foundation.

The decision to step down was one the organization was preparing for since Swiney joined four years ago. Rider decided now is the time because Swiney is ready to take the helm.

“It’s a wonderful feeling knowing that your successor is going to honor the principles of what went before,” he said, while also adding new strategies to take the foundation into new directions.

CKCF Board Chairman-elect Terry Patterson said Rider’s announcement at a previous board meeting still was surprising, despite the preparation. But he said Rider “has raised a leader” to follow him.

“She’ll make his footprints bigger, that’s what she’ll do,” Patterson said.

Swiney said Rider has served as her mentor during her time with the organization.

“When I think about what philanthropy looks like, I think about Al Rider,” she said.

Nannette Johnston, superintendent of Hardin County Schools, said in a statement Rider was the first person she visited when she was hired in her current position.

“I knew that he had a wonderful vision for this community and a passion for increasing educational opportunities in this area,” she said.

Rider joined what was then the North Central Education Foundation in 1992. Under his leadership, the foundation assisted in the opening of a multi-institution education center, partnered with the Heartland Community Foundation to expand its focus and change its identity, and assisted in forming a partnership between HCS and Western Kentucky University.

Swiney has been instrumental in starting an early childhood program through the foundation, the Get Ready! Camp.

Kelly Cantrall can be reached at 270-505-1747 or kcantrall@thenewsenterprise.com.