American Friends usher in new leadership 

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After seven and a half years overseeing the collection of roughly one million dollars for local organizations, Rod Rohda has stepped down as the president of the American Friends of Whistler.

A familiar Whistler face, Gary Raymond, the former president and CEO of Intrawest Placemaking, has stepped up in his place.

"It's been terrific," said Rohda of his tenure, not long before his return to Boston, where he spends half of his year, the other half in Whistler.

"As I look back over my time with the American Friends of Whistler and I think about virtually every public organization in town we've been able to lend our support to... That's something that really means something to me.

"It's a terrific feeling to know that we've been involved with that many different organizations in the community."

He points to grants to the medical clinic, the library, the museum, the First Nations cultural centre, to name a few.

But it was time for a change.

Rohda said it was time to step down as president but added he will remain one of the 13 board members.

"I really think that an organization benefits by having different leadership periodically," he said.

Raymond is a founding member of the AFOW, the non-profit organization for Americans who want to contribute to the community. As a U.S. registered non-profit, Americans who donate are able to receive a U.S. charitable tax deduction.

Pique was unable to reach Raymond by deadline this week.

Founded in 2002, the AFOW has raised almost $1.1 million and given away $950,000. Organizations such as Whistler Search and Rescue, the Whistler Community Services Society and the Whistler Walk Safe Program have all benefited from the AFOW.

Other changes from Saturday's board meeting, in addition to the new president, include the creation of an executive director position to help manage the administrative parts of the organization.

Mary Forseth has taken on that volunteer position. Board member Janice Hartrick is now secretary of the organization.

For more on the AFOW, visit

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