After searching for several months, the board of directors for the San Mateo Samaritan House has decided to promote from within.
The nonprofit organization’s former chief operating officer, Laura Bent officially accepted the position of CEO on Wednesday, Jan. 18.
“The board conducted a robust search, meeting with a number of excellent candidates, and Laura proved her capability and fit throughout this rigorous process,” said Cliff Robbins, president of the Samaritan House board of directors.
Bent has been with the organization since 2011. In her role as COO, she was responsible for managing all programs, facilities and the organization’s impact.
While in the role of COO, Bent led a team of 120 employees and added 16 new programs, which enabled the organization to reach an additional 25,000 individuals. She has held executive leadership roles in the nonprofit human services industry for the past 20 years and previously worked with the YMCA of San Francisco.
"My vision is to grow the organization and expand the programs and services that we offer so that in addition to acute crisis prevention, we are also able to help clients lift themselves out of poverty for the long term," said Bent.
Bent replaces Bart Charlow, who retired in 2022 after eight years in the position.
The Samaritan House has been active in the San Mateo County community for 50 years. From March 2021 to June 2022, the organization provided more than 2.5 million meals and 44,000 nights of safe sleep and supported the delivery of more than $115 million in financial relief to keep people in their homes during the COVID-19 pandemic.
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