Compass Mark recently welcomed Eric Kennel as its new Executive Director. Eric, who previously served as Director of Grant Development for multiservice nonprofit Liberty Lutheran, says he’s proud to be part of the Compass Mark team. He adds:
“There’s a relevance to our mission that cuts across many different aspects of our community. It’s really so much broader than addiction prevention. The outcomes we’re working towards every day at Compass Mark directly align with educational achievement, economic empowerment, community development, and many other important areas.”
Eric says he and his team will focus on making the nonprofit a leader in addiction prevention program innovation. For example, he says that starting this year, every one of Compass Mark’s school–based programs for youth is evidence-based. “Things that may have worked in prevention 20 years ago may not be effective anymore.” Eric continues, “We continue to innovate within our programs to ensure that they are aligned with current best practices.” Compass Mark’s youth programs, such as Lions Quest and Future Generations Youth Leadership, aren’t built on ineffective “scare tactic” prevention models; instead they’re designed to help children and teens develop the protective factors they need to make healthier decisions. That healthy decision-making process is the foundation for effective substance abuse prevention in Lancaster. Eric says, “Prevention is the long-term answer to so many of the addiction issues affecting our community.” He adds that for every $1 invested in prevention activities, more than $10 can be saved in treatment. As Eric and the Compass Mark team move forward, the executive director says the group will work to increase its visibility in Lancaster and Lebanon Counties. He notes the nonprofit already offers strong outcomes with supporting evidence, but now “we need to tell the stories of our impact.” As part of that effort, Compass Mark is preparing to launch a new website. Eric says, “We are moving into our fiftieth year, and that tells me there’s so much history and strength in this organization. I’m excited to continue building on that.” A native of Lancaster, Eric has earned a Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree from Penn State University, with certificates in Nonprofit Administration and Program Evaluation. He is an experienced traveler and has visited over sixty countries around the world. Eric lives in Lancaster City with his wife and two young children.