Semcac welcomes new executive director

Published 8:00 pm Friday, November 24, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Semcac recently welcomed a new executive director, Jennifer Hengel, who has dedicated her career to helping people and communities and has a passion for Community Action.

Jennifer. Hengel

According to a press release, Hengel has a strong background in the public and nonprofit sectors. She worked with Community Action from 2001 to 2011, first as a planner at Western Dairyland Economic Opportunity Council before more than nine years as Semcac’s planning and development director. Jennifer returned to Semcac’s planning office in June 2023.

Between her time at Semcac, she spent three years with Community and Economic Development Associates, fulfilling a city administration contract, and nine years as the executive coordinator of the Rushford Peterson Valley Chamber of Commerce.

Email newsletter signup

She has bachelor’s degrees in both political science and Spanish from Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota, and a Master of Public Administration from the University of Kansas. Along with her work experience, she has held several roles in her community — as a 7th to 12th grade track and field coach; a volunteer with the Foundation for R-P Schools and Rushford-Peterson Community Education programs, election judge, and city planning commission; and as a board member of the Rushford Community Foundation and Rushford Festivities. Hengel, her husband, and their two sons live in Rushford in Fillmore County.

“I was first drawn to the work of Community Action more than 20 years ago and feel fortunate to be working again with Semcac’s caring and dedicated board, employees and volunteers who positively impact their communities through our programs and their service,” Hengel said. “I look forward to connecting with the people and the areas we serve and collaborating with Semcac’s leadership team to support our staff and programs, so together we strive for everyone to have the opportunity to live in decency and dignity.”

Semcac is a nonprofit Community Action agency founded in 1966 with the mission to empower and advocate for people to enhance their self-sufficiency by maximizing community resources. Semcac operates programs within the departments of Head Start, Senior Services, Outreach and Emergency Services, Energy & Housing, Semcac Clinic, and Transportation.

With headquarters in Rushford, Semcac serves the seven southeast Minnesota counties of Dodge, Fillmore, Freeborn, Houston, Mower, Steele and Winona, and provides limited services in the counties of Olmsted, Goodhue, Rice, Wabasha and Waseca.