Which ANSIL is legitimate? Nonprofit board calls out ex-president
KENNEWICK, Wash. – It’s been a battle between two groups, both named ANSIL, or A New Start in Life, that’s now headed to the Washington State Attorney General.
Executive Director Tobaski Snipes said it all started in December 2020.
“I’ve deployed three times, and I don’t think I’ve ever lost this much sleep and shed as much tears as I have for the community that I’m serving right now,” he said.
Last winter, the ANSIL Kennewick board voted to remove Lisa Colville as their president.
“They did some things that were literally against the bylaws of our organization which goes into Washington state regulations so per the state in a nonprofit there’s certain things you can and can’t do,” Crystal Willingham, their treasurer referred to Colville.
As a result, Willingham and Snipes said Colville refused to leave the organization and formed her own, illegitimate board made up of family members.
They said she also created a threatening environment for the homeless young adults that they serve at their Kennewick location.
“That person was literally trying to kick them out into the cold, in the middle of December because they weren’t on her side,” Crystal recalled.
Snipes said Lisa changed locks without consulting anyone and also took facility property.
Eventually, their lawyer sent Colville a cease and desist letter.
“As a result of that, we’ve sort of been locked in this power struggle,” Crystal said.
But, the damage to the organization and their residents had already been done.
“We’ve just had a really hard time maintaining the program, helping the young adults who are suffering and who really are the ones who need this whole thing to be resolved. The program was designed to help them stop those things, they – a lot of them went back to those patterns, because once again a bad examples a bad example,” Crystal said many residents dropped out and returned to their drug habits.
So, the ANSIL team is moving in a new direction, with a new name: Empower Life.
“Gracefully move on and stay here at the property create something new here,” Crystal said.
“The amount of community support has been phenomenal,” Tobaski said.
In the mean time, Lisa has created an ANSIL Services page, which Tobaski and Crystal said is not affiliated with them.
Additionally, Snipes said he has a trademark on ANSIL and the logo.
KAPP KVEW wanted to learn Lisa’s side of the story, so reporter Madeleine Hagen called, but the voicemailbox was full.
She stopped by their location on North Young Street, but the people inside wouldn’t answer the door.
We were able to reach Colville over Facebook message, when she agreed to answer questions over email, as time was running out in the day. However, we received this response instead of answers to the questions.
“A request for information was received from Maddie Hagen at KAPP KVEW to ANSIL’s email firstname.lastname@example.org, on June 17th, 2021 at 2:43PM; and she stated that the requested information was needed by 4:00PM on this very same day. ANSIL’s attorney has been contacted regarding the questions that have been emailed, and ANSIL and/or ANSIL’s attorney will release a statement in the near future.”
Snipes and Willingham said they just want to leave the drama behind and continue to help those who need it most.
“When you work with these young adults on a daily basis and see in their eyes that they came to you for help, there’s no way you can turn your back on them,” Tobaski said.
Snipes added they were able to work with their landlord to regain control of their housing and facility off of Bruneau Place in Kennewick. To keep up with ANSIL as they transition to Empower Life, stick with their Facebook.
Snipes said the Washington State Attorney General has opened an investigation into Colville’s actions when she was with the original board.
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