Alzheimer’s Association Announces New Executive Director of California Central Coast Chapter

SANTA BARBARA, CALIFORNIA, July 10, 2020 – The Alzheimer’s Association is proud to announce the appointment of Lindsey Leonard as executive director of the California Central Coast Chapter. She succeeds Interim Executive Director Kathryn Croskrey, who has intermittently overseen the chapter since the retirement of former executive director, Rhonda Spiegel, in December of 2019. The chapter’s board of directors and staff are excited to welcome Lindsey into this leadership position.

Formed in 1980, the Alzheimer’s Association is the leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer’s and Dementia care, support and research. The California Central Coast Chapter has offices in San Luis Obispo, Santa Maria, Santa Barbara and Ventura and provides free programs including education classes, support groups and care consultations, which are currently offered virtually through online webinar or conference call platforms. In 2020, it is projected that 2,838 families along the Central Coast will be helped with the support of hundreds of volunteers. Access to free programs is crucial for the 690,000 individuals living with Alzheimer’s in California, along with their 1.624 million caregivers. The 2020 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures Report projects a 21.7% increase in the state’s population of those living with Alzheimer’s within the next five years.

“Alzheimer’s disease has become a national health crisis. Alzheimer’s and dementia is the 6th leading cause of death in the United States, the 3rd leading cause of death in California.  In the United States, 16 million individuals are projected to be living with this disease by 2050,” said Leigh Cashman, Immediate Past Board Chair. “We need a global solution as it is a grave threat to our nations and world’s health and finances.”

“On our local level, an extensive search was conducted for our next executive director,” said Leigh Cashman. “It was vital that we selected a seasoned candidate familiar with the Central Coast communities, their leaders, volunteers and medical field.  This area is very diverse and  ever-changing and we were looking for an executive director that could meet the many demands and challenges required to lead our large Chapter as well as be a strong spokesperson for the cause. The organization is confident that Lindsey’s knowledge in fundraising and vast understanding of the needs of the Central Coast Region will take the organization to the next level.”

Lindsey possesses 20 years of progressive experience in the non-profit sector within fundraising, program development and expansion, operations management and organizational development. Her professional roles have included serving as executive director of Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation; vice-president of development & operations for Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Clara Valley; development director for Santa Barbara Channelkeeper; and branch director for United Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Barbara County.

“It is a privilege to lead, with the support of a talented and dedicated staff team, such a special organization,” stated Lindsey Leonard. “The Alzheimer’s Association supports a predominantly elderly population and their families. They are more vulnerable now more than ever during COVID-19. It is essential that our visibility is elevated during this critical time and that our programs are deepened to support the increasing needs of our service population.”

The Chapter is gearing up for its biggest fundraising event of the year: The Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s®, to be held on September 26 in Oxnard; October 3 in Santa Maria; October 31 in San Luis Obispo; October 31 in Westlake Village; and November 7 in Santa Barbara. The Walk has been modified due to COVID-19. Instead of walkers gathering on a pre-determined route to walk together, to ensure the safety of its participants, volunteers and staff, participants will not physically gather as a large group as they had in previous years. Instead, on their local Walk Day, participants will walk on their own – on the street, trail, and track – with family or with their team while others are doing the same.

Walk participants will be given a purple t-shirt, the “official” color of Alzheimer’s awareness, that features sponsors of the Walk. On Walk Day, the goal is to raise awareness about the disease and funds to support individuals with Alzheimer’s and their families.

“Until there is a cure for this devastating disease, we are asking those that feel touched by our mission to join us in support of this imperative cause,” said Katina Zaninovich, Board Director and Chair of the Alzheimer’s Women’s Initiative. “I am honored to lead the Alzheimer’s Women’s Initiative, a diverse group of women dedicated to championing the cause and raising funds to accelerate research and maximize quality care and support.”

“For over six years, Alzheimer’s Women’s Initiative held a successful Luncheon to raise awareness and funds as we strive to see a world without Alzheimer’s,” said Zaninovich. “Obviously this year, we cannot pack over 500 people into the ballroom of the Hilton Santa Barbara, so we are taking our Luncheon “on the road” so to speak, and joining the Walk to End Alzheimer’s as a fun and easy way to become involved.  I encourage you to join me and the millions of others across the nation that are participating in the Walk. Let’s put on our purple t-shirts and walk our neighborhoods in support of our fellow community members who have the disease or care for someone who has the disease. The need is great and I hope you will help.”

The California Central Coast Chapter is calling on the community to take action to meet the increased demand for services and to walk in memory of those that have experienced dementia and in solidarity with those that are currently fighting the battle. To sign up to join this year’s Walk as a sponsor, team captain, or a participant, please contact or visit


About the Alzheimer’s Association:

The Alzheimer’s Association leads the way to end Alzheimer’s and all other dementia – by accelerating global research, driving risk reduction and early detection, and maximizing quality care and support. Our vision is a world without Alzheimer’s and all other dementia®. Visit or call 800.272.3900.

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