The Douglas County Community Foundation has tapped a veteran of Lawrence's social services scene to serve as its executive director.
Chip Blaser, who formerly served as vice president of operations for the Ballard Community Center, began working as the foundation's leader on Thursday.
"I was really attracted to the opportunity to make an impact throughout the Douglas County community," Blaser said.
The $10 million foundation serves as an outlet for community members who want to make charitable contributions. The foundation, which was formed six years ago, has provided about $200,000 a year in funding to a variety of local organizations that provide social services, health care or education assistance, along with making grants to support the arts.
Blaser had worked for nearly six years at the Ballard Center, where he worked with donors and oversaw the center's service programs such as food banks and fan drives.
The array of experience was attractive to the foundation's board of directors.
"He brings almost an ideal skill set," said Mike Davis, a Kansas University law professor who serves as chairman of the foundation's board.
Blaser replaces Sara Corless, who resigned after nearly six years with the foundation to spend more time with her family.
Davis said he didn't anticipate the foundation would make any major changes in its mission or operations. He said the foundation had performed well, growing from about $4 million in assets when it started six years ago to about $10 million today.
"There really isn't a limit to our growth," Blaser said. "We're very fortunate in Douglas County to have a very active and caring community. We have always had people willing to participate and give of themselves."