Director of Community Budget Center retires after decades of service

Karen Brown, husband plan to remain in the community

Karen Brown, second from right, stands outside the Community Budget Center with her coworkers. Brown will retire after a long career of helping people in the community.
Amber Delay/Craig Press

After 24 years of service in the community as the executive director of the Community Budget Center in Craig, Karen Brown is retiring from her role and looking forward to her next adventure.

Brown’s leadership in the community went far beyond the walls of the budget center, which provides assistance to community members and families in need. In her role, she provided leadership to staff, volunteers and community service workers.

“We believe in second chances for people, and we live for that,” Brown said.

In her tenure at the budget center, Brown was the recipient of the Craig Rotary Humanitarian Award. Brown was also involved with the Downtown Business Association, and according to Community Budget Center Vice President Delanie Voloshin, has helped breathe new life in downtown Craig through events and promoting the community.

Last year, Brown’s husband retired, which helped prompt her decision. The couple is going to stay in Craig and spend time enjoying the community where they dedicated their careers and built their lives.

“We’re going to play,” Brown said. “We don’t have any concrete plans.”

Brown has been working since she was 14 years old, so she may not know what to do with herself once she makes the transition to retirement. But the first thing Brown and her husband are going to do is go camping this weekend.

The thing that Brown said she will miss the most is helping people and building relationships with clients, community members and employees.

“I will miss that part,” Brown said. “It’s hard to leave, but I am leaving (the budget center) in very capable hands.”

When Brown first started with the Community Budget Center 24 years ago, it was on Russell Street in a little building behind its current location on Yampa Avenue. The store was much smaller then, but it had the same mission to serve people in the community.

Since Brown has been executive director, the budget center has expanded to four times its original size and has grown in the volume of customers, donations, and assistance it is able to provide to community members in need.

“This is an amazing community to live in; we’re not going anywhere,” Brown said.

The growth of the budget center wouldn’t have been possible without the help of grantors and people in the community who donate their time and money to help others.

Brown also said the way local agencies work together in Craig could serve as a model to other communities.

The budget center works closely with Moffat County United Way, Open Heart Advocates, Love INC. and other local human service organizations. Brown said that all the organizations get along and work well together.

“We help other organizations in the community,” Brown said.

Brown has also created a supportive environment for the staff at the budget center, which has grown from five to 13 employees in the past five years.

“She has done so much for me and my family,” said Valeria Guevara, employee manager for the budget center. “We love her.”

Guevara has worked for the Community Budget Center for five years. Brown said that it really is a team operation, and one person couldn’t run the whole place alone.

“This is an important part of our community, and we are proud of it,” Brown said.

Amanda Eisenhower, who began working for the budget center in 2020, will be stepping into the role of executive director upon Brown’s departure.

“I have been so involved for so long,” Brown said. “It’s time to hand off the baton.”

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