February 6, 2021

Hesed House’s New Executive Director

New Executive Director

Hesed House has a new executive director.

Joe Jackson stepped out of his managing director position at the shelter and into the new role in mid-November.

“Hesed House is just this amazing place that so many amazing, wonderful things happen here on a daily basis,” said Jackson. “To be even just any part of that organization is absolutely incredibly but to be able to lead that organization is icing on the cake.”

Jackson first found his way to Hesed House two and a half years ago, moving from the corporate world.

It was former executive director, Ryan Dowd, who introduced Jackson to the shelter.

Former Executive Director Still There

And after around 13 years, Dowd is transitioning into a new role.

“He’s going to make sure I don’t screw up too badly,” said Jackson. “He’s just a tremendous resource.”

Dowd is now Hesed House’s director of mission and strategy. He travels nationally and internationally to train organizations on homelessness, while bringing back what he learns to Hesed House.

Though there’s some changes, Dowd believes Jackson is up to the task.

“We had to build a brand new shelter with a 40-day time window before the CARES Act money ran out. He managed to pull off a multi-million dollar construction project with federal funding restrictions in this insanely short period of time in the middle of a pandemic,” said Dowd. “I don’t think I could have done that. And so it’s been really exciting to watch.”

Dowd has actually watched Jackson’s growth since he was his student in his non-profit management and servant leadership classes.

“It’s been really exciting to watch Joe go from my student, to my colleague, to my partner,” said Dowd. It’s just been really cool.”

Going Forward

The reins have been passed on to someone new, but one thing won’t be different.

“I don’t’ think the goals of Hesed House have changed,” said Jackson. “The goal is to end homelessness. And I’m sure there are people out there who chuckle at that and say ‘oh, that’s a silly goal or it’s too lofty.’ But we’re going to do it.”

Naperville News 17’s Aysha Ashley Househ reports.

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