NEW EXECUTIVE TEAM LEADS OUR HOUSE GRIEF SUPPORT CENTER TO SUPPORT ANGELENOS IN THE WAKE OF THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC
Los Angeles, CA (April 12, 2021)-OUR HOUSE Grief Support Center announced today that a new executive leadership team has been named to usher in the next chapter of the organization’s history, helping thousands of Angelenos impacted by death and grief. Since 1993, OUR HOUSE has provided essential programs and services to the citizens of Los Angeles County, helping to normalize the universal experience of grief for children, teens and adults aged 4 – 104 years old. The board of directors has named Breena Gold as its new Chief Executive Officer, effective March 29, 2021. The appointment was announced by Board Chair Robyn Santucci, who took office at the beginning of 2021 and oversaw the four-month national CEO search to identify an accomplished leader who would bring a wealth of nonprofit prowess and success to OUR HOUSE.
“Our board of directors is thrilled to introduce a leader of Breena’s caliber to guide OUR HOUSE Grief Support Center,” Santucci said. “Breena possesses proven executive leadership credentials to grow OUR HOUSE into an even greater, more impactful organization serving more grieving children, teenagers, and adults as they embark upon their journeys to hope and healing. As we look to the future, Breena will lead and carry on our legacy of providing the highest level of program excellence and service to those in our community who are grieving the loss of a loved one.”
Gold brings two decades of nonprofit executive leadership, fund development expertise, and care and support programming excellence to OUR HOUSE. She previously served as Executive Director of the Alzheimer’s Association CA Southland, as well as President & CEO of Make-A-Wish Greater Los Angeles.
“I’m elated to work with OUR HOUSE’s exceptional staff, board of directors, volunteers, and stakeholders to build on the grief support center’s impactful 28-year history of bringing hope and understanding to the grieving process,” Gold noted. “Together, we will drive the critical work of this vital and well-respected organization to ensure the thousands of grievers we serve experience healing in a safe, warm, and nurturing environment.”
Santucci and Gold bring masterful credentials, as well as a dedicated partnership to the agency. Neither the board chair nor the CEO are strangers to grief since both have endured the deaths of beloved family members and are united in their efforts to ease the journeys of grievers from sadness and loss to hope and healing.
Santucci noted that “as a griever myself, I know our society shies away from talking about death or acknowledging the emotional pain of grief and loss. People simply don’t feel equipped to know what to say or how to say it to someone experiencing the brutal anguish after losing a loved one. A lot of people end up saying nothing at all to the griever and that’s a lonely and isolating feeling that sends the message ‘you should be okay by now’ and ‘move on’, even if that message is unintended. It is wonderful to experience how OUR HOUSE helps grievers put words to their emotions, by making the unspeakable pain speakable.” Gold added, “I don’t know of too many organizations that provide such a powerful resource to normalize a universal experience that remains taboo to talk about to this day. OUR HOUSE provides dignity to grief and tremendous healing that will have lifelong benefits.”
With more than 65,000 deaths in Los Angeles County in 2020 and a one-year total of 23,388 deaths resulting from COVID-19 complications, OUR HOUSE provides a real and needed service at this critical time. “I am honored to be joining OUR HOUSE at a time when our services are in critical demand and can be such an important resource to grievers and the people who support them. I am especially impressed with the model that provides support in a way that caters to the age of the griever and the relationship they have had to the person who died.” Santucci agreed, saying, “The fact that we currently offer online services in both English and Spanish and will return to in-person services as soon as possible makes me feel proud to be at the volunteer helm of OUR HOUSE, together with my staff partner, CEO Breena Gold.”
For more information about OUR HOUSE Grief Support Center, visit http://www.ourhouse-grief.org/
About OUR HOUSE Grief Support Center OUR HOUSE Grief Support Center is one of the nation’s most respected organizations for grief support and education. For 28 years, OUR HOUSE has helped thousands of grieving children, teens, and adults as they embark on their journeys to hope and healing following the death of someone close. The safe, warm, and nurturing environment of its Los Angeles centers offer support groups specific to age and relationship. OUR HOUSE is a leading provider of grief education, offering workshops, seminars, and in-service training to mental health and medical professionals, clergy, educators, and other members of the community who interact with bereaved families. With offices in West Los Angeles, Woodland Hills and Mid-City, and over 80 satellite locations throughout Los Angeles, OUR HOUSE offers bereavement support groups in English and Spanish. To learn more, please visit www.ourhouse-grief.org or call 1.888.417.1444.
About Breena Gold Breena brings two decades of nonprofit executive leadership, fund development expertise, and care and support programming excellence to OUR HOUSE. Prior to joining our organization, she was the Executive Director of the Alzheimer’s Association CA Southland where she reestablished the local chapter of the national healthcare nonprofit, propelling it from ground zero to $8MM in 2020. Beginning with the 2016 rebuild of its LA operations, the chapter was transformed into a five-office regional network, broadening care and support program delivery. In addition to achieving fundraising milestones year-over-year, the CA Southland’s reengineered board of directors was recognized at the 2020 Alzheimer’s Association’s national conference as the #1 board in the nation for fundraising excellence.
Breena’s successful career in the nonprofit sector has also included serving as President & CEO of Make-A-Wish Greater Los Angeles where she navigated the turnaround of the chapter into a fiscally responsible, self-sustaining business. Prior to her tenure there, Breena held numerous senior leadership positions at The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, including Vice President of Business Divisions, the largest philanthropic department in the organization.
Before entering nonprofit, The Pennsylvania State University alum, who holds a B.A. degree of “Highest Distinction” in Communications, began her career as the Deputy Press Secretary to the Governor of Pennsylvania, as well as Sr. Vice President at Saatchi & Saatchi, one of the largest advertising agencies in the world.
During her spare time, Breena is an avid treadmill walker and enjoys long walks with her husband, accompanied by their “not so spoiled” three-pound poodle.
About Robyn Santucci, M.S., C.F.L.S. Santucci is the founder of Santucci Family Law, P.C., a boutique Century City-based law firm specializing in complex family law matters. She is also a Certified Family Law Specialist by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization. She holds a master’s degree in clinical psychology and worked briefly in that field before attending the University of San Francisco School of Law in 1998. For more than 19 years, Santucci has devoted her legal career exclusively to family law. Her early educational background, including her graduate training and credentials in clinical psychology, contribute significantly to her adept grasp of the multifaceted nature of family law disputes. Santucci is able to marry her legal talents with her psychological training to strategize an optimum course of action for each client, so that everyone receives Robyn’s distinctive brand of thorough representation and compassionate advocacy.
It is this same compassion that first brought Santucci to OUR HOUSE in 2008, where she was a founding member of the Associate Board, which created a young professional’s board as a pipeline for leadership training and a fundraising. Santucci served as Chair of the Associate Board from 2010 - 2014 before joining the Board of Directors in January 2015. While on the Board of Directors, Santucci was the Chair of the Strategic Planning Committee followed by serving as Vice Chair before being installed as Board Chair in January 2021. Santucci lives in Beverly Hills with her pug, Rory.