The former director of the West Anniston-based Calhoun County Community Development Corporation, Jankoski has taken the helm of the Calhoun-Cleburne Chapter of the American Red Cross, whose offices are right next door on West 10th Street.
“The Red Cross is an organization that does incredible things in our community, and they have been doing them for years,” Jankoski said. “We’ve got a great group of volunteers.”
Jankoski noted that the Red Cross has an established mission, including disaster relief, support for military families and blood donation.
“I knew they did good things in the community and thought it would be a good opportunity and a good challenge,” he said. “I wanted to make sure we continued to maintain the high standard of support and care we provide in the community.”
Jankoski said he’s going to work with the board of directors and leadership of Red Cross to identify areas the local chapter can improve on or new projects it might take on.
Obviously, he said, he will look for things the organization can do better.
“With all nonprofit organizations, funding is always an issue,” he said.
He said he’s set some targeted fundraising goals that he expects to be able to meet.
The local chapter had been without an official leader since former director Carol Cleghorn joined the city of Anniston as its new marketing director in April. In the interim, leaders from neighboring chapters have rotated into the local office to keep things running smoothly.
“It takes a lot of organization and patience, and I think he’ll do very well at it,” Cleghorn said of Jankoski. “I’m excited that he got the position.”
Jankoski first came to Anniston to complete basic training for the Army at Fort McClellan in the mid-1990s. He returned in 2010 after completing an undergraduate degree in accounting at Michigan State University and working for Ernst & Young while he completed master’s coursework in nonprofit development and fundraising at New York University.
Nearly two years ago he took over as director of the Community Development Corporation, a nonprofit whose mission is to “provide affordable housing, economic development and youth leadership to the residents of Calhoun County with an emphasis on west Anniston.”
“I can’t speak highly enough for my gratitude for that opportunity,” he said of the CDC.
While there, Jankoski established We All Run, a program he said he has loved to be part of. WAR has encouraged about 35 local students to take up the sport. Jankoski said training for races such as the Woodstock 5K helps students learn to set reachable goals and accomplish them.
“Sometimes these kids just need someone to believe in them,” he said. “They deserve that.”
He also worked to establish a community garden in west Anniston at the site of a run-down car wash.
“I’m extremely thankful to community groups and members of community all over Anniston and Calhoun County who helped make that happen and who believed in the vision we had as an organization,” he said.
“That’s how we’re going to make a difference, and that’s how we’re going to effect positive change in Anniston, by relationships, networks and realizing we’re all people.”
Staff writer Paige Rentz: 256-235-3564. On Twitter @PRentz_Star.