Germaine Knapp to step down as president of Sojourner House

ROCHESTER, NY (December 8, 2010)-  Germaine Knapp, president of Sojourner House at PathStone Inc. since 1997, will leave her post in 2011.  Knapp notified the Board of Directors today that she intends to step down after the Board finds her successor.  Founded in 1981, Sojourner House provides housing and case management to women and children in the Rochester area in critical need of assistance. 

Germaine Knapp has served as president of Sojourner House since 1997.

Germaine Knapp has served as president of Sojourner House since 1997.

According to William N. LaForte, chairman of the board of directors of Sojourner House, Knapp’s decision was accepted with great regret. “Germaine is the heart and soul of this organization,” LaForte said.  “It will be extremely difficult to replace her, but with Germaine’s help, the Board will find a successor to carry on the great legacy of this organization.”

Sojourner House was named in honor of Sojourner Truth, who was born a slave in Upstate New York.  Truth journeyed throughout the country as a passionate abolitionist and advocate for the rights of women and blacks. 

Sojourner House is a pioneer of supportive housing for women and children, with Monica Place, Fairchild Place and Nancy Watson Dean Place.  Together, these facilities provide 40 units of permanent, affordable housing for women and their children, who benefit from on-site case management and support services.  Under Knapp’s vision and direction, Sojourner House and its programs have strengthened and expanded, most notably in the areas of supportive housing, outreach case management for graduates, children’s programming, and life skills education.

Last year, Sojourner House affiliated with PathStone Corporation, a community development and human services organization with a strong history of affordable housing development and property management in Rochester. The two organizations came together to bring the Sojourner House model of transformational resident services to the PathStone properties. The affiliation strengthens both organizations’ ability to provide families with safe, decent, and affordable housing, as well as the support services they need to transition to economic self-sufficiency.

“It has been an absolute honor and privilege to work with Germaine to create and implement our partnership,” said Stuart Mitchell, president and CEO of PathStone. “Germaine is an articulate, passionate advocate for homeless women and their children. Sojourner and PathStone staff and board members cherish her extraordinary experience, enthusiasm, dedication and friendship.”

Since 1982, Sojourner House has assisted over 2,000 women and their families in reaching their goals concerning education, employment, family stability, sobriety, and financial independence.

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