December 24 at 12:41pm

Interfaith Community Services CEO announces his retirement

Richard Batt, chief executive officer of Interfaith Community Services, announced Monday his retirement as the leader of the North County nonprofit agency.

Batt was hired in September 2011 to helm the Escondido-based organization, which provides food, emergency shelter, employment assistance and other services to thousands of individuals and families in need throughout North San Diego County.

Batt said he was retiring to attend to the health of family members.

Just the second chief executive in Interfaith’s 31-year history, Batt oversaw a number of accomplishments during his two years in charge.

Earlier this year, Interfaith successfully secured Family Self-Sufficiency contracts from the County of San Diego for both Inland and Coastal North County. Previously, the agency serviced only the Inland area as a subcontractor.

He and Interfaith took the lead in crafting “a plan to solve homelessness” across North County. The draft plan will move forward in the new year under the auspices of the Alliance for Regional Solutions and the San Diego Regional Continuum of Care.

Under his leadership, the agency launched an employment services department, expanded its Recuperative Care program, which provides temporary housing for homeless veterans and other individuals with no place to go after hospitalization, and began a Teens Teaching Tech program in which high school students teach computer and technology skills to older Interfaith clients.

The latter program recently received a $50,000 grant from the NBC Universal Foundation.

Christine Carrick, chairman of the ICS board of directors, noted Batt’s accomplishments and the big shoes he had to fill in following Suzanne Pohlman after her nearly 30 years as chief executive.

“Rick took on this task and during the last two years has brought some wonderful new staff on board. In working with me and the entire board he helped us redo our by-laws to bring them up to date,” Carrick said. “He was instrumental in establishing an amazing veteran’s program, a program we should be especially proud of. Rick accomplished a lot in a short time and he will be missed.”

Associate Director Craig Jones was appointed by the board to serve as interim executive director while a search for a new executive director takes place. Jones has held a variety of positions during 16 years with the agency.

Batt will work with Jones over the next few months to assist in the transition and to assure that all critical operational matters are handed over smoothly.

Interfaith Community Services provides a wide range of programs to help hungry, homeless, and low-income people in North San Diego County. Programs include food and basic needs, shelters and housing, employment services, family and social services, children and youth programs, senior services, veterans programs, and addiction recovery. Each program is designed to “help people help themselves,” by empowering individuals to regain self-sufficiency.