JANESVILLE

The head of a private fundraising group for the ARISE downtown riverfront revitalization plan has stepped down and the group has appointed a new lead coordinator, officials announced Friday.

Forward Janesville President John Beckord, one of the partners in a steering committee for ARISE, said this week that Kelli Cameron, the group’s fundraising and community engagement coordinator, decided to end her role with ARISE-now so she can focus exclusively on her full-time job as Mercyhealth’s recruitment director.

Cameron was an executive-on-loan from Mercyhealth and had planned to spend 18 months working part time on fundraising, grant writing and coordinating private downtown revitalization projects through ARISE. Cameron decided to step down this week after about five months with ARISEnow.

Beckord said Cameron’s decision to step down came as leading efforts to raise money and plan private revitalization projects was becoming a full-time job. Meanwhile, demand for recruitment at Mercyhealth has ramped up.

Beckord said JoLynn Burden, Forward Janesville’s lead events coordinator, will fill a new full-time role at ARISEnow as the group’s director of development and community engagement.

Burden’s position at Forward Janesville eventually will be filled by a full-time assistant Burden will supervise. Forward Janesville is actively recruiting to fill the assistant position.

Burden will continue to report to Beckord, but the shape of her role with ARISEnow will be determined by a core of stakeholders who lead ARISE’s steering committee, including Janesville banking executive Larry Squire and downtown property developer Mick Gilbertson, among others.

That group coordinates with ARISEnow’s board. Some people are members of the steering committee and of the ARISEnow board, Beckord said.

Beckord said the change comes as ARISEnow—the group working to spearhead fundraising and planning of a privately funded pedestrian bridge over the Rock River, among other projects along the downtown riverfront corridor—is quickly branching out in its ventures.

He said significantly more time is required to set up and coordinate new committees for ARISEnow projects and to network for potential donors to reach what he has said is a $10-million fundraising goal. Beckord characterized the mushrooming of work for its lead coordinator as a sign the ARISEnow campaign is gaining “momentum.”

“There was no problem per se, other than it’s a pretty heavy load for a half-time person who has other responsibilities. It just wasn’t a workable formula at this time,” Beckord said.

Beckord said Cameron has done well in her tenure with ARISEnow, including helping usher in a few new committees, including one to enlist Janesville School District art departments and local artists to develop public art projects the group plans downtown.

Cameron agreed with Beckord’s statements. She said it was her choice to step down. She said she recognized the role required more time than a part-time employee could give.

“To be totally honest, we’ve been talking about this. It’s been kind of crazy the last couple months trying to balance what’s become two full-time jobs.”

Cameron said she’ll stay involved with ARISEnow as one of the group’s main grant writers—a volunteer role she said will require just a few hours a week.

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