A nonprofit organization that seeks to foster partnerships between churches in Ventura County in the service of those in need has hired a full-time executive director to spearhead a new phase in its growth.
Jill Upson, of Simi Valley, took the helm of the ACTION Foundation two months ago and oversaw its move from a leased building in an industrial park on Constitution Avenue in Camarillo to space in the new Ventura County Community Foundation building at 4001 Mission Oaks Blvd.
ACTION — Area Christians Taking Initiative on Needs — focuses primarily on serving the elderly and disabled, at-risk youths, low-income families and the homeless.
Upson is a member of StoneBridge Community Church in Simi Valley, where she oversees all its community services and mission projects. She also, for the past several years, has organized the ACTION Christmas Shoppe in Simi Valley, which lets low-income parents pick out toys for their children.
As executive director for ACTION, Upson will be responsible for guiding the organization in all areas, including strategic planning programs, finance, volunteer development and outreach training.
The executive director says she’s thrilled with this new opportunity.
“What I see is ACTION being a catalyst to bring churches, volunteers and the community together to meet the needs of the community and in that way we can transform the community together,” she said. “If each church adopted a school or seniors complex and really met the needs of these people, imagine what we could do to transform our community.”
Upson said it is good to put faith into action by providing clothes, food and other services people need.
“God loves us, and we want to be able to share that love with others by meeting their practical needs and through random acts of kindness,” she said.
One of Upson’s first tasks is to oversee the nonprofit’s annual Serve Day on June 1 when hundreds of volunteers help seniors, low-income families and others in need with practical projects.
Kirk Dewitt, lead pastor at Conejo Church in Newbury Park, is president of ACTION’s board and said Upson was a natural choice.
“One thing that’s really neat about Jill is that she’s already doing the job,” Dewitt said. “She’s been great at getting churches and volunteers together in really neat programs that help people, and she already knows how to organize people.”
Dewitt said the move to the nonprofit center, which is home to other nonprofit service organizations, including United Way of Ventura County and Interface Children and Family Services, will enable ACTION to do more.
“It’s time for us to stop being the little organization in the corner and have a little more influence in the county so we can partner better and help more people,” he said. “I think Jill will be really good at networking and empowering more volunteers.”
ACTION will host an open house from 4:30-7 p.m. Thursday at its offices, and Upson said everyone is welcome.
“We just want to thank people who have been supportive and let others know what we’re about,” she said.
For more information, visit www.actionvc.org or call 987-0300.