Rene Ross posted a heartfelt message on her Facebook wall last night.
She will no longer operate as Stepping Stone's executive director.
"As many of you know, there have been significant challenges with funding that began last September and hopes for other funding did not come through. Moreover, the remaining staff are delivering critical programming that program users depend on for their health and safety. Those programs must be protected at all costs. I am hopeful that the savings the organization will accumulate by eliminating the ED position will allow the staff to carry on with their crucial work."
Former Stepping Stone executive director, Rene Ross
The news of Ross's departure was featured in this morning's radio and print media reports, including the Chronicle Herald and the CBC, the latter having reported that Ross quit, but it is unclear whether she quit or her position was eliminated due to the aforementioned budget cuts. Halifax Media Co-op's Hilary Beaumont posted a well-researched article noting that Stepping Stone has undergone major changes due to shifting and unsecured funding at the organization.
As ED, Ross was very vocal and publicly minded, often appearing on local radio and television, as well as online, including a post for the HuffPo. In the meantime, Ross states that she "will continue to support the staff and program users and will provide any support required by the Board in this challenging time." She goes on to say, "Stepping Stone is my heart, the staff are the amongst the best I have ever worked with, and the program users have taught me more than I could ever dream of learning in a university or from a book – because those impacted by policy are the true experts for change."