June 10, 2022

Dear Partners,

As I’ve shared with First 5 LA’s Board of Commissioners and employees, I will be stepping down from my role as First 5 LA’s Executive Director at the end of this year.

This was not an easy decision to make, but an important one for both professional and personal reasons.

For close to 10 years, the urgency of prioritizing children prenatal to age 5 has guided and motivated me in my role as Executive Director at First 5 LA, an organization focused on improving systems to create greater impact and meaningful change for the future of the youngest children and their families across our county and state. Strategically-minded and compassionately-driven, we are an ever-evolving organization following a purposeful path forward to achieve the results we seek, recognizing that with advancement of this work also comes the time that leadership ought to evolve as well.

As many of us have experienced over the course of the pandemic, time spent with family has been a rare gift, one that has allowed me since early 2020 to be close and present with loved ones in their advancing years, to experience irreplaceable chapters in life, and to prioritize their health and wellbeing. I have truly appreciated how precious the gift of time is, and I’ve come to realize that having stepped into this precious and present space, I can’t step back.

I am grateful for the opportunity to serve the young children and families of L.A. County, particularly those facing the greatest gaps in equity and opportunity, to work alongside smart and passionate leaders to guide First 5 LA as a catalyst for change at a systems level and to accelerate the organization’s influence and impact. There is still much work to be done and in the coming months, my focus will remain steady on our organization’s priorities.

First 5 LA’s Board of Commissioners Executive Committee will serve as the search committee to appoint a new Executive Director. There is no more important decision for a Board to make and I have confidence they will approach this task with integrity and transparency and with an eye toward the organization’s needs, culture, strengths, and where they see opportunities for improvement.

No one issue is more important to our collective future in the nation-state of L.A. County than ensuring the healthy development of our youngest children. I’ve endeavored to lead this organization with an unflinching commitment to our mission and to the team that I’ve been proud to call my colleagues and friends these past nearly 10 years. I am incredibly privileged to do such meaningful work to create lasting change in the lives of children, families and communities.

To read the public statement including comments from First 5 LA’s Board Chair, Los Angeles County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, click here

Be safe. Be well.

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Kim Belshé

Executive Director