Note: High-resolution photo available, contact Laura Kirby. Please credit Christine Fogleman for photo.
February 1, 2011 -- After a decade of service to an organization that has benefitted greatly from his leadership, Dr. Ronald G. Curran will retire on June 30, 2011 from the position of Executive Director for the Western North Carolina AIDS Project.
“Under Ron’s watch, this agency has blossomed, growing to meet the needs of our clients and our community. Over the past 10 years, he has kept a keen eye on finances, legislation, health and the specialized needs of our growing client base. His leadership and vision ensures WNCAP’s future” says Mark Collins, President, WNCAP Board of Directors.
Dr. Curran has made many substantial contributions to WNCAP. Most importantly, he moved the organization from "at risk" status in 2001 to its current position of stability, a regional leader in HIV/AIDS prevention and care. The "at risk" designation was given by both the state of NC and the Asheville-Buncombe United Way in 2001 to reflect concern about WNCAP's future at a time when the organization had no financial reserves and was not operating within budget.
Today, WNCAP is financially stable and maintains a Board reserve of over $140,000. WNCAP's annual budget has increased from $270,000 to $730,000 and the agency currently receives support from a diverse group of funders including three regional United Way agencies, the state of North Carolina, the Sisters of Mercy of North Carolina Foundation, the Mission Hospitals Community Benefits program, the 300 Society, the North Carolina Community AIDS Foundation, the National AIDS Fund, and Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.
In 2008 WNCAP moved its offices on Orchard Street to its current location on Fairview Road, in the process gaining 1,000 square feet of office and meeting space, with parking, and retiring $50,000 of mortgage debt.
In 2010 WNCAP partnered with Western North Carolina Community Health Services to form the Appalachian HIV Wellness Network. This collaboration resulted in the seamless transition of Ryan White services to the WNC region when the state restructured its HIV/AIDS care model.
Under Dr. Curran's leadership, WNCAP has expanded HIV Case Management services from twelve to nineteen counties and added two new locations in the region where individuals living with HIV and AIDS can access those services. The organization now has a strong HIV advocacy program, is operating a homelessness prevention program in partnership with the City of Asheville, and for two years operated a state-funded pilot Hepatitis-C education and prevention program.
Meeting client needs has always been the highest priority for Dr. Curran. The amount budgeted for WNCAP's Client Discretionary Fund, which is the way the agency provides emergency financial assistance to clients when all other sources of support have been exhausted, has increased from $15,000 to $40,000 during his tenure.
According to WNCAP staff, the same kind of concern for people is evident in Dr. Curran's leadership style. "Ron is such an approachable manager," says WNCAP Development Director Laura Kirby. "He has a lot of confidence in the staff he hires and trusts us to work independently to do our jobs without trying to be involved in every little decision -- but when any of us need to talk with him to troubleshoot a problem or respond to a challenge, he is always available to listen and offer guidance and direction."
Board development is another of Dr. Curran's strengths. He facilitated a change in the Board's structure in 2003 to include a focus on skill sets and diversity. The Board has participated in two strategic planning projects over the past 10 years, each resulting in a five-year Strategic Plan for the agency. According to Board President, Mark Collins, “The Strategic Plan the Board completed this fall, gives a clear roadmap to move WNCAP appropriately to the next level. Working with Ron on this important project, the Board created a checklist and review of all items pertinent to the continued smooth running of the agency. This Strategic Plan included many discussions on succession planning and will help with the interview process to fill the void Ron will leave behind.”
Dr. Curran has also provided leadership and service to the larger HIV/AIDS community in North Carolina. He has served as Chair of the Regional HIV Planning group for four years and now serves on the statewide HIV Planning Group and the NC AIDS Care Unit Advisory Committee.
Locally, he has served with the Asheville/Buncombe United Way Agency Directors as Chairperson for two years and currently is a member of the Health Planning Subcommittee. In 2010 he became a member of the Advisory Board for the nonprofit organization Youth OUTright.
The WNCAP Board of Directors is engaged in an Executive Director search process. Their goal is to place the proper person to continue Dr. Curran's ambitious initiatives and introduce their own ideas and plans, guiding WNCAP’s mission now and in the future.
The Western North Carolina AIDS Project is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing HIV-related services to the people of North Carolina, through client support, prevention education and outreach activities, in a collaborative and financially responsible manner.
For more information visit www.WNCAP.org or call 828-252-7489.
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