Hammonton, NJ – April 2014 – Eileen Unger, EPP President and CEO, has been appointed to the Board of Directors of Durand Academy and Community Service. Durand, founded in 1972 as a school for children with autism, strives to provide educational opportunities to individuals challenged by developmental and/or learning disabilities. Each year, the academy helps hundreds of children and adults in the Southern New Jersey counties of Gloucester, Salem, Burlington, Camden and Cumberland maximize their potential. The academy currently operates 5 group homes, a thrift shop, and an adult day-training program.
Eileen Unger is a solid addition to Durand’s Board of Directors. She strongly believes in the cause, and is committed to helping the Board allocate resources and make strategic decisions that are in the best interest of the academy, the academy’s foundation, and the community as a whole. Unger’s extensive entrepreneurial and executive-level experience will be put to good use as it relates to helping the academy achieve its growth aspirations. Durand will clearly benefit from Unger’s leadership skills and overall business acumen.
“I am both humbled and excited to have been nominated to the Board of Directors of Durand Academy,” said Unger. “This is a cause that is near and dear to my heart because New Jersey has the highest incidence of autism in any state – so when it comes to deciding where I should focus philanthropically, this is an obvious opportunity to allocate my time in a manner that will have maximum impact.”
Durand has been successfully operating for over 40 years thanks to its overarching philosophy to continuously evolve to meet new and emerging needs. Durand’s primary goal is to optimize current operations while developing growth strategies that dovetail with future trends. One of these growth strategies is to expand its number of group homes; as such, Durand recently acquired 11 acres in Deptford, NJ, and has finished the first 2 phases of the construction of a new state-of-the-art facility. This initiative is particularly impressive considering that Durand’s programs are completely free for its clients – 100% of its funding comes from donations and grants from the State of New Jersey.
The Durand Academy prides itself in not only providing assistance directly to its clients, but to their clients’ families as well. The academy understands that it can be challenging for families to care for a loved one who has a learning or developmental disability. As such, Durand offers respite services to give family members time off from caregiving, subsidy programs to help families meet their day-to-day financial responsibilities, informational assistance programs to help families navigate relevant medical and governmental programs, and advocacy services. Aside from these core assistance programs, the academy strives to continuously develop new programs designed to help meet and ultimately exceed the needs of its clients, their families, and the communities within which they live.
“One of the greatest attributes of Durand is that its leadership is 100% committed to improving the lives of those it serves, and they realize that this is an ongoing, evolving, and never-ending process,” said Unger. “This is one of the things that attracted me to this opportunity; Durand is and always will be a progressive non-profit that embraces change for the better.”