READING, PA – The Berks Arts Council board of directors has appointed Meggan Kerber its new executive director, effective August 8.
Kerber succeeds Karen Haver, who is resigning to take on the role of full-time sailor and occasional blogger.
Kerber has an extensive and varied background, primarily in development, fundraising, special events and marketing.
She most recently was director of development for Bethany Children’s Home, Inc. She returned to the organization in May 2014 to rebuild their Development and Marketing programs. Under her leadership, Kerber implemented the organization’s largest special event and marketing appeal called Over the Edge, raising $95,000 in its first year and $110,000 in its second year. In addition, she has strengthen the organizations fundraising and stewardship programs, community engagement, volunteer involvement, alumni programs, and marketing initiatives.
She previously had been director of development at Bethany from April 2004 to September 2007.
Kerber has also had an independent business that began in January 2012 that provides consulting services to non-profit organizations in the areas of development/fundraising, marketing, strategic planning, board development, software management, special events and program alignment/implementation.
Haver and her husband will be setting sail this fall to explore the islands of the Bahamas, returning to the U.S. coastal waters in the spring to explore the waters of New England. They have committed to a year of sailing on their 43-foot Wauquiez Amphitrite Ketch, SoulShine.
Haver will be blogging under the website www.DaysUnfurling.com and her adventures will be found on Facebook @DaysUnfurling and Instagram @DaysUnfurling.
Berks Arts Council board member Lee Olsen, who headed the search committee, said: “Through her career Meggan has held fundraising and development positions. She has demonstrated knowledge and skills in the highly competitive field of professional fundraising and has a success rate attesting to her skills.
“In her position as executive director of the Berks Arts Council she will use her fundraising and development skills to build the donor base, the volunteer base and the core event funding to support the major programs on an annual basis, i.e. the Boscov’s Berks Jazz Fest, the Reading Blues Fest, Fast Lane Art, the Pagoda Awards and the Bandshell Concert Series.”
“I am honored to be named as the executive director of Berks Arts Council,” Kerber said. “In this role, I seek to provide our community the opportunity to be inspired and engaged in the arts. The arts play an integral role in economic development and creating positive change throughout Berks County. Through collaboration, education and performances our goal is to create a sustainable arts community in Berks County that all can access.
“In addition, it is imperative that our youth today have the opportunity to explore and be inspired by the many forms of art. The Berks Arts Council will be seeking ways to partner with local schools and organizations to provide additional educational programs for our local youth. We know that the arts promote creativity and improve academic performance.”
Kerber continued that “the Berks Arts Council team of staff and volunteers will focus on how ‘the arts inspire us, soothe us, provoke us, involve us and connect us’ as a greater community.”
“We came to the conclusion that Meggan Kerber was our most qualified candidate given her history with numerous other Berks County non-profits,” said Berks Arts Council president Kent W. Davis.
“Besides managing the organization her leadership skills will be employed with her community engagement to promote the Arts Council as well as the ongoing arts education programs and the annual state-funded Partners in the Arts grants program,” Olsen said. “Meggan is a proven leader in the community, having served on numerous boards, committees and chaired special events.”
Kerber will try to build on the momentum Haver brought to Berks Arts Council.
“I’m proud of my tenure at Berks Arts Council,” said Haver. “I worked hard to promote the importance of the arts in our community. We have been able to showcase hundreds of arts organizations and projects through collaborations, grants and community presentation. I am happy with the work that I have done for the Council and believe that I’m leaving it in a position for growth under Ms. Kerber’s leadership.”
Haver joined Berks Arts Council in 2010 as grant administrator and was named executive director following a period of board members acting in leadership positions. During her tenure, Berks Arts Council revamped Fast Lane Art focusing on student artists, celebrated the 25th anniversary of Berks Jazz Fest, introduced the new Reading Blues Fest and had multiple years of record-breaking Berks Jazz Fest ticket sales.
She was instrumental in transferring the former Greater Reading Film Fest to its new direction with the Film Commission as the now named Reading Film Fest. Haver brought a passion for the community and strong knowledge of the music and event production industries to the position.
“In the eight years since Karen assumed the leadership role as the council’s executive director, she continued to improve the quality of our programming and annually set the bar higher for performance standards,” Olsen said. “This year, the Berks Jazz Fest had the highest ticket sales in its history. She oversaw the creation of the 25th Anniversary Souvenir Program Book of the Jazz Fest. Karen was instrumental in promoting the Blues Fest, and now in its second year.
“Karen’s passion has been arts education and the distribution of state grants funding for artists of all genres in a three-county area. Karen’s efforts have resulted in an increase in funding at the state level over the past three years from Pennsylvania Partners in the Arts. Karen revived the BCTV Berks Arts Council program with monthly insights into the local arts community, interviewing artists and performers.”
“When Karen became executive director, she brought stability and leadership to the organization during a critical time,” said John Ernesto, general manager of the Boscov’s Berks Jazz Fest and the Reading Blues Fest. ““Karen took charge and got the Berks Arts Council headed in a positive direction that has been key to the continued growth of the Boscov’s Berks Jazz Fest.”
Kerber’s previous positions have been marketing director for ViVA Good Life from January 2011 to May 2014; chief development officer for Olivet Boys & Girls Club from September 2007 to December 2010; associate director of development for Girls Scouts-Great Valley Council from October 2001 to April 2004; assistant director of alumni relations for Penn State Berks-Lehigh Valley College from August 2000 to September 2001; development assistant at Penn State Berks-Lehigh Valley College from March 1997 to July 2000; and project coordinator for the Easter Seal Society of Berks and Schuylkill Counties from May 1996 to February 1997.
Kerber achieved Certified Fundraising Executive (CFRE) status in 2005.
Kerber’s community service and affiliations have been extensive. She currently chairs the Alvernia University Alumni Council, is a board member of the Pennsylvania Americana Region Visitors Bureau and is a board member of Dayspring Homes.
She received the Alvernia University Ellen Frei Gruber Alumni Award in 2014 and was a Greater Reading Chamber of Commerce and Industry Rising Star Award Recipient in 2013.
She was named the 2007 Outstanding Fundraising Executive by the Association of Fundraising Professionals Berks Regional Chapter. In 2002 Kerber received the Alvernia College Outstanding Distinguished Psi Chi Alumni Award.
Kerber earned a master’s degree in Business Administration, with a focus in Community Service and Economic Leadership, from Alvernia College (now University) in 2001. She received a BA in Psychology from Alvernia in May 1996.