STEVENSSQUARE - After nearly four decades of social service work, Brad Englund's
final act was to put himself out of a job.
The former executive director of Loring Nicollet-Bethlehem Community Centers
(LNB) retired in January at age 59 after guiding the Southwest nonprofit through a merger with Project
for Pride in Living (PPL), based in South Minneapolis.
Finalized Jan. 1, the merger brings together two nonprofits with one goal: helping people achieve self-sufficiency.
said the merger should sustain and, hopefully, improve services at the LNB centers in Stevens Square and Whittier, where the organization provides education and employment assistance to both youth and adults.
"The first conversation that Steve Cramer and I had [about the merger], I said that I would be the one to step down," Englund
was "getting by" without full-time staff working in fundraising, human resources or volunteer coordination.
Meanwhile, less than a week after the Jan. 1 merger, Englund
was preparing to depart with his
wife on a three-month road trip to visit their two daughters on the West Coast.
Sitting in his empty office, he said leaving LNB after 12 years would be "bittersweet."
A Washburn High School graduate, Englund
grew up in Southwest and spent much of his
career in the area.
He was executive director of the YMCA's Blaisdell branch in the Lyndale neighborhood before joining LNB.
Over the course of a nearly 40-year career in social service, his
work only grew more complex, especially his
work with young people, he
"Kids these days are confronted with so many negative influences," Englund
said, listing violence in the media, gang activity, drug and alcohol abuse, and domestic violence as particularly damaging to young people.
"To try and counter that is very difficult."
On the other hand, he
saw over and over again how just a little bit of help can turn a life around.
"It's rewarding because you see kids whose lives are changed," Englund