PFTP's Founder & Executive Director Says Farewell

Dear PFTP friends, partners, volunteers, and supporters,

As many of you know, I’ve been on sabbatical from my role as Executive Director of Portland Fruit Tree Project since the start of this year. I am writing share the news that I will not be returning. My husband and I have a second child on the way - a little boy due in January! I have decided that being home with our children for the next couple years will be best for me and my family. This of course, was a difficult decision made with many mixed feelings. PFTP is my other baby, after all! 

Katy & Ayla harvestingServing as PFTP’s Founder and Executive Director has been an incredible journey, and I am so proud of all that we have accomplished over the past 9+ years! Working together with thousands of volunteers, partners, fellow staff members and supporters, we have built PFTP from a simple idea to an accomplished and burgeoning organization. We have harvested more than 350,000 lbs of fruit that would have otherwise gone to waste, created 5 vibrant Community Orchards, organized nearly 1,000 events engaging 6,000+ diverse participants in education and volunteerism, provided fresh produce to more than 37,000 families in need, and gave rise to a nationwide movement of urban fruit tree gleaning and community orchards! From the bottom of my heart, I want to thank you for joining with me in this amazing journey. I have been greatly inspired by the passion, commitment, knowledge and support that so many people and organizations have shared along the way. I've learned so much in the process – especially about our capacity as individuals and as a community to make a difference when we work together toward a common good. We’ve come a very long way together, and there’s still a long way to go.

When I left for my sabbatical in January, Portland Fruit Tree Project had just completed our most successful year to date. After growing the organization’s programming and financial strength year after year, I am proud to have left PFTP in its strongest position yet, and in very capable hands. PFTP’s outstanding team of staff, board members and volunteers are doing a great job in my absence. Our current Interim Director, Andy Fisher, will remain at the helm until PFTP’s new Executive Director is in place in early 2017. We will begin recruitment in the coming months, so stay tuned! I am very excited to see where this next phase will take this fabulous organization. While it presents great opportunity for creativity and change, transition times are always a challenge for any organization. I encourage you to stay in touch with PFTP during this transition and beyond. We hope that you will remain involved for many years to come!

In light of my departure, some board members set up ‘Katy’s Legacy Fund’, and they invite you to make a gift in my honor. They are presenting this as an opportunity to commemorate my service, provide support for PFTP during this time of transition, and invest in PFTP's bright future! Click here for more information.

While I will no longer be Portland Fruit Tree Project’s Executive Director, I will of course stay connected. I look forward to bringing my daughter, Ayla, and her baby brother to Harvesting Parties, Community Orchard events, and other fun PFTP happenings next year. I sincerely hope that our paths will cross again, there or elsewhere. Wishing you all the best.

With warmth and gratitude,

Katy Kolker