The Harbor searches for a new director

Molly Pringle is stepping down as executive director of The Harbor.

The Harbor, the regional advocacy group for victims of sexual and domestic violence, is looking for a new executive director.

Molly Pringle, who joined the agency in January, announced in late October that she is leaving because of unexpected family circumstances. Her last day will be Dec. 21.

“Though there is never a good time to depart, I made the difficult decision to hand off leadership now because The Harbor has grown so much in 2018 and is in a promising position to emerge from this transition with positive momentum,” she said. “In fact, I am on good terms with The Harbor and will continue supporting our development and fundraising as we seek new leadership.”

Pringle is the fourth director since Pat Burness retired in 2012 after 20 years with the organization. Her successor, Julie Soderberg, left without explanation in 2015. Melissa Van Horn started in early 2016 but left without explanation after several months. Sue Farmer, a former board member, served as an interim executive director until Pringle was hired.

Much of her work since joining The Harbor has been to figure out, fine-tune and build on what works with the organization, Pringle said. The agency recently received a government grant to place victim’s advocates in health care settings, and another from the Meyer Memorial Trust to ask marginalized social groups what they would like to see from The Harbor, she said.

The Harbor receives about 60 percent of its funding from government grants, along with 20 percent from foundations and the rest from private donors, Pringle said. Many of the grants require local matches. The next big push for the organization is a winter fundraising campaign seeking monthly donations to help provide more reliable local funding to help leverage grants, she said.

The Harbor has made other recent moves to stabilize funding and focus on core services. It closed the unprofitable Deja Vu thrift store downtown and scrapped an expensive remodel of the Van Dusen Building into a new headquarters. The agency instead sold the Van Dusen Building to coworking group Astoria Maker Industries and is renting office space in the former Snow & Snow law firm.

Pringle is well-regarded by the community and by The Harbor’s staff, said Mindy Stokes, chairwoman of the group’s board. “Losing her is a loss to the community,” she said.

Her job has been posted with regional sexual and domestic violence organizations and will remain open until filled. A hiring committee of two staffers, two board members and a representative from the community will choose Pringle’s replacement.

The Harbor is looking for someone who has experience related to sexual and domestic violence issues, along with a knowledge of nonprofits, budgets and writing grants, Stokes said.

“We really want someone who can partner well with leaders in the community, law enforcement, health care, the Lower Columbia Hispanic Council, that kind of stuff,” she said.

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