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Car care program names new leader

Kris Chisholm1 / 2
Cliff Korkowski2 / 2

The Douglas County Car Care Program, a nonprofit that provides low-income people with vehicles and vehicle repair, will soon be under new leadership.

Founder Cliff Korkowski will retire as executive director in December, and Kris Chisholm, who oversees fundraising and special events for the United Way, will take his place.

"Kris is a great fit for the mission of the Douglas County Car Care Program," said board chairman Terry Quist. "He's passionate about his work and passionate for working with people in need."

Chisholm will work for the United Way through Oct. 30, and begin working for the car care program in November.

Quist said Korkowski is leaving the car care program "in great shape."

"I think the challenges are to keep growing the program and keep connected with our partners, our donors," Quist said. "More than challenges, they're opportunities."

Since 2012, the car care program says it has donated 253 cars and repaired 449 cars for individuals and families in Douglas County. Its goal is to promote independence.

Volunteers handle the program's repair work and Chisholm will focus on fundraising and partnerships. However, it's safe to say he knows a little about engines. He grew up as a farm kid in the Red River Valley and has fixed a tractor or two in his time. He also once had a commercial driver's license and drove a semi before getting into banking, then the nonprofit world.

Jump starting vehicles and towing cars, he said, are definitely in his comfort zone.

"I'm just passionate about Alexandria and the surrounding area, and the things the care care program is doing to alleviate some of those transportation issues and barriers," Chisholm said. "I'm just looking forward to providing the leadership that they're looking for."

Jen Jabas, executive director of United Way of Douglas and Pope Counties, said during the three years Chisholm has worked there, she has seen him hop up from his desk to help whoever comes through the door.

"What means the most to me is that he's genuine in all that he does and is truly a relationship builder," she said. "He really puts other first."