An important update

December 21st, 2021

Dear friends:


My last day with Kandelia will be January 14th, 2022. I am proud to have served one of the most important missions of my life since early 2020. Thank you to everyone who met with me and helped me learn from your experiences. I am fortunate to be a part of a resilient success story – a bold new brand; two fiscal year surpluses; our most profitable (and first virtual) gala; prioritizing employee wellness, balance, and pay during COVID – 19; adding staff when many CBOs downsized; and diversifying our board.


My future work will be in mental health education and advocacy. This mission is personal to me, as my family has lived with mental health challenges and I want to normalize and demystify the mental health challenges many of us have lived through during this alienating pandemic. I am called to see what I can do to impact the lives of those who seek community and stability in work and in society, as I have tried to do in public education. I aim to continue to empower the voices of people of color in mental health spaces, especially for immigrant families like my own that too often live with stigma and silence.


Our staff at Kandelia has done such important work during my time here. When I first met my team in early 2020, they were intensely focused on new ways to meet emerging needs during the COVID-19 pandemic, including food and rent aid. They embraced virtual learning and now are back to leading full in-person programs once again, all while learning new roles and programs. I thank each of them for teaching me about a brand-new city and for letting me learn as a first-time Executive Director on top of all of that. I will always celebrate their future achievements and thank them for letting me be a part of their stories.


Our brilliant Kandelia board has been supportive and giving, quite honestly the best thought partners that I have worked with on any board. They are working hard on a transition plan and will have my full support. I know they will find great leadership to bring Kandelia to its greatest heights. Their wisdom and guidance are the main reason Kandelia is so healthy today.


Our partners at Seattle World School and the Seattle Public Schools remain the bedrock of our partnerships. Principal Hobson and her wonderful team of educators make our unique impact possible and the best is yet to come, with exciting new ideas and collaborations. Our CBO partners like Coyote Central, Jack Straw, ICHS, and many others are a joy to grow with.


Finally, thank you for your belief in our work and for continuing to support such a unique mission and organization. I will always remember my time at Kandelia fondly and I will be a proud community supporter for many years to come. I hope to continue friendships and extend an invitation to stay connected through my personal e-mail at davidsong27 at gmail dot com.


With enduring respect and thanks for allowing me to serve,

David Song
Executive Director






From the Kandelia Board:


We are grateful for the time and leadership David  has given to Kandelia during his tenure with us. We want to thank David for the dedication, passion, and enthusiasm he has shown the Kandelia community over the past two years, especially in a time of a global pandemic. Though we are sad to see him leave us, we wish him the best in the next step of his career.


The board will be working to establish an interim executive director to help fill the gap as we navigate this transition as soon as possible. Our team has been working to ensure a smooth transition, with hopes of launching the executive search in early 2022. We will gather a search committee made of staff, board, and community members to identify candidates who have the commitment, shared lived experience, and passion to lead Kandelia through the opportunities and challenges ahead. 


We look forward to keeping you updated as the search process moves forward, and thank you for your continued support! 


In Community,

Johnson & Juliet

Co-Chairs, Kandelia Board of Directors



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