'We are better here because of her'

Dec. 2—WILKES-BARRE — Diane Dutko's last day at the Luzerne Foundation ended with a steady stream of community leaders who sincerely thanked Dutko for her work helping non-profits meet the financial demands of the growing need for services.

Last month, in announcing Dutko's impending departure, Luzerne Foundation President and CEO C. David Pedri said there is not a nonprofit in Northeastern Pennsylvania that has not benefited from her assistance.

"And we are better here because of her," Pedri said. "While we are sad to see her go, we know that she will do a phenomenal job in her new role at ThinkBIG."

Dutko has accepted a position as the Executive Director of Think BIG, a Pennsylvania based nonprofit that directly supports families dealing with a pediatric cancer diagnosis, a cause near and dear to her heart.

Dutko spent 18 years working at the Luzerne Foundation, starting as the executive assistant and working her way up the ladder to her most recent role as Chief Operating Officer. During her tenure, Pedri said her compassionate input has helped the Luzerne Foundation grow exponentially.

"During my time at the Luzerne Foundation, I have been able to see incredible growth," Dutko said. "We started as a small two-person operation and we have grown to be an extremely influential community supporter."

A tearful Dutko thanked those who attended Friday's farewell gathering.

"I am so proud that I was able to contribute to the betterment of our home through my role at the Luzerne Foundation and am looking forward to taking on the next challenge in my career at ThinkBIG," she said. "My family was touched by pediatric cancer so I know first-hand what these families are dealing with and it will be my honor to help them through their time of need at ThinkBIG."