A passion for nonprofit organizations has brought Jill Gregg to Pendleton as the new executive director for the Children's Museum of Eastern Oregon.

Gregg comes from the Artz Center in Portland where she was the development and marketing coordinator. The center focuses on children's development and health, Gregg said.

She also recently completed a certificate in nonprofit management at Portland State University, reinforcing her zeal for nonprofits.

While attending Pacific University in 2006, Gregg and a friend helped start HANDZ - helping academic need and development in Zambia. Her friend visited the African country identified it for a nonprofit of this type. The organization funded 57 Zambian students to attend school last year, according to its Web site.

"It's small but it makes an impact," Gregg said.

An impact is exactly what she plans to make as the executive director for the Children's Museum of Eastern Oregon. Gregg said some of her goals include increasing community exposure to the museum, making access more affordable and making the museum's services available to all of Eastern Oregon. She also aims to work on partnering with other local nonprofit organizations.

"This museum has the unique opportunity of being able to benefit the whole community," she said.

Sarah Haug, the museum's board president, said the museum has been without a director since last September. After a turbulent search, Haug said the board was delighted to hire Gregg. The board also made the decision to make the position of executive director full-time, when previously it was 30 hours a week, she said.

"Jill is extremely well qualified," Haug said. "We really felt that she would bring such enthusiasm and excitement to the children's museum that we've been missing for quite some time."

The museum soon will go through some changes including creating a new arts and crafts area as well as a science lab. Gregg said the science lab will serve as a room of exploration and hands-on experiences, and the craft room will allow parents and their children to be creative together. The science lab, though, hinges on the museum receiveing a grant.

Gregg said grant writing and community involvement are things she hopes to increase, along with the funding of the museum through all means possible.

"The museum has done a good job of maintaining, now we're looking to grow and expand," she said.

Recently, the museum gave 30 museum memberships to Pioneer Relief Nursery, Pendleton's safe haven for neglected and abused children, which offers counseling, childhood programs and parenting education classes. It also held its always-successful Wiener Dog Race fundraiser.

As a new resident of Pendleton, Gregg said she and her fiance Patrick Gregg, a new lawyer at the Pendleton law firm of Corey, Byler, Rew, Lorenzen & Hojem, hope to get involved in the community. Gregg said she plans to assist the Pendleton High School women's soccer team in the upcoming season.

"I'm excited to be here, to be a part of the community," she said. "I have a passion for non-profits and I want to make an impact."

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