MERCI Executive Director Retires and Welcomes Incoming Leadership

MERCI, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit offering services to the developmentally disabled population, is proud to welcome Jillian Van Leuven as their incoming Executive Director replacing long-time leader Marta Escañuelas. Ms. Escañuelas retired in January after serving the organization for more than 24 years growing its impact and providing life changing programs for clients.

“We’re thrilled to welcome Jillian into the MERCI family,” said Ms. Escañuelas. “With Jillian’s breadth of experience working with the developmentally disabled communities, we know she will take MERCI to new heights.”

Ms. Van Leuven has vast experience working in the nonprofit sector with a proven track record of facilitating progressive organizational change, mentoring and developing staff to move up the ranks and creating long-range fiscal forecasts and financial plans. Her passion for MERCI’s mission and clients is unparalleled. She has years of experience working directly with the developmentally disabled community, providing behavior support plans, family support and one-on-one meetings, and working with a team to develop and implement goals and objectives to improve services.

“Marta is such an influential leader in the sector and she is leaving me with big shoes to fill,” said Ms. Van Leuven. “I’m eager to learn all the ins and outs of the organization to grow it and serve even more of the community.”

Ms. Van Leuven obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from San Francisco State University and her Master’s in Nonprofit Management and Administration from California State University, Northridge.

Envision Consulting (Envision), a Pasadena-based nonprofit consulting firm, was retained to conduct the search. Within 45 days, Envision sourced and interviewed more than 60 candidates for the position and selected finalists to meet with the search committee.

“Jillian is a great asset to MERCI. She has an in depth understanding of the population MERCI serves and believes in teamwork to make the transition seamless,” Partner Matt Kamin said. “Marta has left an impressive long lasting legacy not only with MERCI, but throughout the community. We were honored to be part of this transition and entrusted with this critical role.”

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