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Long-serving leader for Sandy Springs, Dunwoody nonprofit announces retirement

By Adrianne Murchison, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

(CNT) City News Talk #atlanta-ga

The longtime chief executive officer of a nonprofit serving families in need in Sandy Springs and Dunwoody has announced plans to retire in the coming months.

Tamara Carrera has led the Community Assistance Center since 1993. A statement from the nonprofit Wednesday said Carrera will remain on board through the search and eventual hiring of her successor.

CAC reports that the charity has provided food and financial assistance to nearly 20,000 families since it was formed in 1987. The organization was founded by 10 leaders of local religious congregations.

The nonprofit operates a mini-market food pantry and thrift store in Sandy Springs, as well as its administrative offices. A Dunwoody Branch also provides food and financial services for local residents.

Carrera has been an advocate for renters during the coronavirus pandemic appealing to public officials and private donors for grants that would help pay clients’ rent and utility bills.

She started as a volunteer and was hired as director four years later, the statement said. She has increased CAC’s operating budget from $24,000 when she arrived 27 years ago, to $5 million this year.

Communications Director Kristen Ristino said this year the nonprofit has received $1.3 million in private donations and grants from the state Sandy Springs and Dunwoody, as well as $1.5 million in in-kind donations.