Windsor's Downtown Mission sign, December 2015. (Photo by Mike Vlasveld)Windsor's Downtown Mission sign, December 2015. (Photo by Mike Vlasveld)

Downtown Mission names interim director

The Downtown Mission has found a person within its ranks to carry on as its interim executive director.

Director of Development Rukshini Ponniah-Goulin was named by the Mission's board of directors as the acting executive director after the Reverend Ron Dunn resigned last week.

The Mission is in the process of finding a new permanent home for its day programs after the Victoria Avenue location was sold this spring. Ponniah-Goulin told that finding a new home for its kitchen and dining ministries is the top priority.

"Unfortunately, we haven't been able to move forward with other locations due to funding, approvals, things like that, so we are looking to move forward with a smaller plan next to our Wellness Centre at 875 Ouellette," said Ponniah-Goulin.

Ponniah-Goulin said she was excited about stepping in as executive director, and believed her experience at the Mission prepared her for this role. She joined the Mission in 2016 and was named its director of development the following year.

She said she knows she will have big shoes to fill.

"The Mission is a place that I love, and strongly support and believe in every way I possibly can," said Ponniah-Goulin. "I'm very, very sad to see Ron go, but I definitely respect and admire all that he has done for the Mission and our community."

Before joining the Mission, Ponniah-Goulin was executive director at the Distress Centre of Windsor-Essex County for nine years and had previously worked in the auto sector.

Dunn, who headed the Mission for ten years, is leaving Windsor to take a position at Hospice Halifax in Nova Scotia. His final overnight "bench chat" is scheduled for Thursday, with his last day at the Mission on Friday, November 5.

A search for a permanent executive director is ongoing. The Mission is hoping to have someone named by spring 2022.

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