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HAAM executive director leaving for new job

Gary Dinges

Editor’s note: This article was originally published October 1, 2013

Carolyn Schwarz, head of the Health Alliance for Austin Musicians for almost a decade, will soon leave that organization to lead a different health-focused Central Texas nonprofit.

In her new position, which will be announced Wednesday, Schwarz will serve as executive director of Ronald McDonald House Charities of Austin and Central Texas effective Oct. 14.

The move will come just two weeks after Schwarz orchestrated this year’s HAAM Benefit Day, an annual event that raised more than $300,000 last year — a third of the group’s budget — to help fund health care for about 2,000 Austin-area musicians. The total amount of cash raised during this year’s HAAM Benefit Day isn’t yet available.

“It’s been an honor and privilege to serve for nearly nine years at HAAM,” Schwarz told the American-Statesman. “I’ve loved every minute of my time here at HAAM and am proud of the work we’ve accomplished as an organization.

“The move to Ronald McDonald House Charities is the next step in my growth as a nonprofit leader. They are one of the most recognizable and respected names in children’s health support services and I’m looking forward to serving the thousands of families who rely on them each year.”

HAAM board members said they will begin an immediate search for Schwarz’s replacement.

“We’re excited for Carolyn as she enters the next chapter in her career as a leader in the Austin nonprofit community,” HAAM board chairman Chris Adams said. “Under her leadership, HAAM has grown to serve thousands of musicians, and she has continued to build new partnerships and find new ways to meet our members’ health care needs.”

At Ronald McDonald House Charities of Austin and Central Texas, Schwarz will oversee fundraising and operations, as well as supervise a team of about 20 employees.

Outgoing CEO Kent Burress is set to remain affiliated with the charity, working as a consultant, a spokeswoman said.

“Carolyn is an experienced health care and collaborative community leader who understands the impact of rapid regional growth on health care and related support services,” Marian Wu, Ronald McDonald House Charities of Austin and Central Texas board president, said in a written statement. “Carolyn understands the growing need for services that directly improve the health and well-being of children and their families, and she shares our vision to serve our community by helping families face the burden of childhood illness together.”

Among other community projects, Ronald McDonald House Charities of Austin and Central Texas provides guest rooms for families of critically ill children undergoing treatment at area hospitals.