WUFT News

Executive Director of North Central Florida March of Dimes Will Retire

By on February 21st, 2014

Betsy Trent (right) and Cathy Zenko, a March for Babies team captain, accept a $5000 check at a March for Babies luncheon on behalf of the March of Dimes. Trent is set to retire March 1.

Courtesy of Betsy Trent / WUFT News

Betsy Trent (right) and Cathy Zenko, a March for Babies team captain, accept a $5000 check at a March for Babies luncheon on behalf of the March of Dimes. Trent is set to retire March 1.


On Saturday, Betsy Trent will walk out of her office for the last time. After 25 years as an employee of the March of Dimes, including the last six as the executive director of the north central Florida division, Trent has decided to retire.

The March of Dimes is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to help mothers have full-term pregnancies and research the problems that threaten the health of babies. The nine-county area in north central Florida, which Trent oversees, is one of its most successful regions.

“I inherited a great program in that my predecessor and the predecessor before her worked with a division that was recognized as one of the No. 1 divisions in the country,” she said. “We say that in March for Babies we raise more per capita than any place else in the country.”

The North Central Florida division has raised nearly $10 million since Trent was appointed to the executive director position in 2008.

Trent said her run as the executive director has not always been easy. Trent took over at the time of the recession in fall of 2008, when donations were hard to come by.

“People and businesses really started doing business in new ways,” she said. “People had to work harder to get contributions because people were making less and were not as sure of jobs.”

During that rough patch, Trent focused her attention on bringing on a staff of young professionals who had the energy and ability to network with the younger generation.

One of those young professionals is Kyle Croft, who now works as the Alachua County Community Director for the March of Dimes and has worked closely with Trent for the past five years.

“Betsy is a determined and persistent leader,” Croft said. “When she sets a goal there is almost nothing that will stop her from reaching it. She is always thinking of new ideas on how we can increase our fundraising efforts.”

According to Lindsay Krieg, who has worked closely with Trent since the summer of 2008 and is now an employee at UF Health Shands Hospital, Trent is tenacious and fearless when it comes to her job.

“Once she has an idea in her head, she will not let it go,” Krieg said. “And there is nothing too big, or too grand that she would ask for on behalf of mothers and babies. I don’t think I can summarize this in just one story. It is simply who she is.“

After spending the first 18 years of her life on a farm in Frankfurt, Kentucky, Trent  attended the University of Tennessee, where she got a degree in home economics.

“Growing up on a farm, I was really streamlined in home economics because I did sewing and cooking and some of those types of things as a project growing up,” she said. “So I always had this interest in home economics and family and I always wanted to do it from a marketing or public relation’s type of role.”

Upon graduation, she accepted a job in Atlanta with Armstrong Court Company where she worked as marketing representative. While there, Trent got married and had three children. She eventually ended up in Gainesville in 1987. A year later, she got her start with the March of Dimes and remained for a quarter of a century.

In her retirement, the woman known around the office as ‘Pit Bull Betsy’ plans to stay busy.

“I enjoy athletics,” Trent said. “I run, and in my retirement I look forward to having more time to run and not having to get up at six o’clock in the morning or 5:30 if I’ve got an early morning meeting”

Trent said she also plans to spend more time with her family.

“Being a grandmother is a new role that I’m looking forward to growing and developing in, and to supporting the children and just being involved in other things in the community in a different aspect.”

As for the transition to the next executive director, a position that has yet to be filled. Trent believes it will be a challenge, but trusts the staff she is leaving behind.

“It’s been a great joy to work with the staff that I have and the volunteers, and I know they will continue the mission of the March of Dimes because they are committed to the cause and they are committed to our babies,” she said.


This entry was posted in Local and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.
 

More Stories in Local

IMG_1999

Tornado Damages Homes Near Ocala Monday

More than 50 homes were damaged in two separate neighborhoods southwest of Ocala Monday afternoon as severe thunderstorms rolled through.


Cars drive past the filled-in potholes and cracks. Permanent road repairs are not expected until after July 2016. Ronnie Socash / WUFT News

No Immediate Fix for SW 62nd Boulevard Road Conditions

Despite continual repairs to Southwest 62nd Boulevard, commuters will still have to drive along the road’s potholes and “alligator cracks” until it is reconstructed in 2016. Once a project development and environment study is completed, the city of Gainesville can work on a $45.2 million project that will turn Southwest 62nd Boulevard from a two-lane road into a four-lane road.


UF football player JC Jackson was arrested yesterday for his involvement in an armed Robbery on Saturday.  He is currently in the ASO jail on a $150,000 bond.

UF Football Player Arrested After Armed Robbery, Released On $150,000-Bond

University of Florida football player J.C. Jackson has been released on $150,000-bond. Jackson was arrested Monday after turning himself in for his involvement in an armed robbery.


Scott Camil, 68, points to a cartoon depicting himself and other members of the Gainesville Eight at their trial. The original cartoon was given to him by the artist, Bill Day. The Gainesville Eight was the name given to a group of anti-Vietnam war protestors charged with conspiracy to disrupt the 1972 Republican National Convention in Miami.

Vietnam War Veteran Rejects Violence, Embraces Peace

Vietnam War veteran Scott Camil once believed the war to be right and honorable. Now, Camil is the founder of Gainesville Veterans for Peace, an organization that partners with other organizations around the area to promote peace.


David Cleveland sits outside his tent in Dignity Village near Grace Marketplace Tuesday, March 10, 2015. Cleveland's campsite is located on a 10 acre span of land that the city of Gainesville will lease from the state.

City Aquires Land Surrounding GRACE Marketplace

The city is finalizing an agreement to use 10 acres of land currently occupied by Dignity Village homeless encampment which could create a more regulated environment.


Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Underwriting Payments