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Cook Inlet Tribal Council Taps Pita Benz to Lead Social Initiatives

Cook Inlet Tribal Council is pleased to welcome its new Vice President of Social Enterprise, Pita Benz.  Ms. Benz joined CITC's Social Enterprise department on January 10, 2011.

In her role, Ms. Benz will direct the business and entrepreneurial development of all social enterprise strategies.  While she will manage the change and growth of CITC's existing social enterprises, seeking out and developing new enterprise investments will be an integral part of Ms. Benz's work.

"Pita will be working in the community to establish partnerships in social enterprise," says Amy Fredeen, CITC Chief Financial Officer.  "She will build upon CITC's core services as another way to help our people meet their endless potential."

Says CITC President and CEO Gloria O'Neill, "We are entering an era in which non-profit organizations need to demonstrate higher levels of effectiveness in the programs they provide, coupled with new strategies for sustainable funding.  CITC actively develops small businesses that earn revenue.  These enterprises fulfill a double bottom line:  they generate revenues that can be re-invested in programs, and they provide training and work experience to individuals looking to learn marketable job skills."

CITC is a recognized leader in this innovative practice of fostering self-sufficiency through business enterprise.  Among its current social enterprises are three coffee shops, a diner, and a shuttle service.  Many of these enterprises are an outgrowth of Chanlyut, a two-year residential and vocational program for men seeking to gain workplace skills as they reenter society.  The revenues earned by CITC's social enterprises are funneled back into important programs like Chanlyut.

"We are thrilled for Pita Benz to add her experience and expertise as our new Vice President for Social Enterprise," says O'Neill.  "Over the coming months and years, with Pita's guidance, we expect that CITC will expand its social enterprises to show how non-profits like ours can grow sustainable programs that provide the most benefit possible, in a cost-effective way."

"I am very excited to join the dynamic leadership team at CITC," says Ms. Benz, who has established herself as a community leader through numerous professional and public affiliations.

"My new role in Social Enterprise leverages my business background coupled with my decades of community involvement."

Ms. Benz comes to CITC after a career in banking with National Bank of Alaska and Wells Fargo.  Most recently Ms Benz was employed at Wells Fargo Bank as Senior Vice President and Manger of the Commercial Real Estate Group.  There, she managed a staff that specialized in providing commercial real estate financing throughout Alaska for a variety of ventures, including affordable housing projects and tax-exempt facilities for non-profit organizations.  In 2010, she was inducted into the Athena Society by the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce.  She is active in the Anchorage Rotary Club and serves on the Anchorage Assembly Task Force on Housing and Neighborhoods, and on the Board of Directors of the Anchorage YWCA.

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