Joanna Cervantes has announced her resignation as the Executive Director at Sunshine Place, to be replaced by Ann Maastricht.

Cervantes will pursue a position with Dane County as a CDBG/HOME Program Specialist. She has been with Sunshine Place since February 2017.

“We have been so fortunate to have Joanna at Sunshine Place for the last four years,” Board President Kevin Florek said. “She has helped our community through some pretty catastrophic events like the explosion in July of 2018, and this pandemic that has brought so much loss to so many people. But, through it all, Sun Prairie is a better place because of all of the time, energy, and dedication Joanna has poured into this community, always going above expectations. While we celebrate her new position, she will certainly be missed.”

“I have loved my time at Sunshine Place, so this has been a very difficult decision, “said Cervantes. “I have worked with an amazing staff and a board that has always been supportive, I have been impressed by the most dedicated group of volunteers, and I have met some wonderful people over the last four years. I will miss Sun Prairie very much.”

Maastricht, previously the Business & Financial Operations Director at Sunshine Place, has been named to the Executive Director position to replace Cervantes. Maastricht has worked at Sunshine Place for two and a half years, and has served on the Sunshine Supper Committee, and as a volunteer, for more than 11 years.

“Ann’s dedication, heart, and attention to detail will serve Sunshine Place very well moving forward,” Florek said. “We are thrilled she agreed to move into this position.”

Mayor Paul Esser praised the working relationship between the City of Sun Prairie and Sunshine Place — and gave credit to Cervantes.

“The City of Sun Prairie has an excellent relationship with Sunshine Place and much of it is due to Joanna. When the gas line explosion occurred in downtown Sun Prairie on July 10, 2018 Joanna took the lead in supporting the people who were displaced and continued for months to assist them.

“And, again in 2020, Sunshine Place under her leadership has helped people impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic,” Esser added. “We appreciate all she has done for us and will miss having her in our community. Our best wishes go with her as she begins a new chapter in her life. She is so talented she will be successful at whatever she does.”

Mark Thompson, Director of the Sun Prairie Emergency Food Pantry that’s located inside Sunshine Place, praised Cervantes for her dedication.

“Over the past four years I have watched Joanna work tirelessly and selflessly to improve the lives of others through Sunshine Place,” Thompson said.

“Sunshine Place is better off because of her,” Thompson said. “I am excited for her and for the future of Sunshine Place.”

Thompson said he believes Maastricht will be the right fit in the executive director position.

“Newly named Executive Director, Ann Maastricht’s style as a servant leader will result in collaboration and positive outcomes which bode well for the future of Sunshine Place,” Thompson added, “and our community.”

Amy Skicki, Executive Director of the Sun Prairie Chamber of Commerce, thanked Cervantes for her hard work in conjunction with the chamber.

“We were sad to hear that Joanna will be leaving Sunshine Place, as Joanna was instrumental in helping the chamber bridge the communication gap with the Spanish speaking community for our Drive-Thru Sweet Corn Festival last year. We wish her well in her new endeavors.”

Skicki said she looks forward to working with Maastricht.

“I have worked with Ann in the past as we both were on the board for the Tellurian Annual Golf Outing Fundraiser and am excited that she will be stepping up to fill the role,” Skicki said. “We look forward to continuing our collaborative efforts with the Sunshine Place in the future under Ann’s leadership.”

Cervantes said she’s excited for her new position.

“My ultimate and final ask of the Sun Prairie community is that you continue to support Sunshine Place, and Ann Maastricht as the new Executive Director,” Cervantes said. “I personally feel excited that she will be taking on this role and continue our mission of supporting our neighbors. This year, 2021, more than anything will be a challenging year to fundraise for our organization.”

To support Sunshine Place in honor of the transition, to make a donation or learn more about the organization, check out www.sunshineplace.org.

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