SPRINGFIELD — Pathlight’s executive director, Ruth Banta, announced her retirement after almost 20 years with the organization. Pathlight, established in 1952 and headquartered in Springfield, is a pioneer in services for children, teens, and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities throughout the four counties of Western Mass.
Banta came to Pathlight in 2003 and served 14 years as its chief financial officer and vice president of Administration. She was named executive director in 2016. In her tenure as executive director, she has led Pathlight through a period of growth, as well as steering it through the rocky waters of a global pandemic.
“I have been proud to be able to continue the growth and innovation that has been the hallmark of Pathlight since its founding in 1952,” said Banta, who first encountered Pathlight as a parent when the organization supported her son with autism.
Some of the highlights of her tenure as director include revenue growth of 14% and 22% growth in net assets, leaving Pathlight in a strong financial position.
Under her leadership, Pathlight created the first program in this part of the state to serve an individual in a community residence who needed full-time ventilator support. Pathlight also acquired 13.5 acres of previously state-owned land to replace two antiquated community homes with three modern, five-bedroom homes for people with intellectual disabilities.
The Milestones day program, located in Hadley, grew by 55%, while there was a 100% increase in adult services through Family Support and Autism Connections. Banta also supported the development of an innovative sexuality and relationship curriculum through Whole Selves.
Most recently, she oversaw the purchase of a new building in Northampton to house programs in Hampshire County, including Whole Children, Milestones, and Family Empowerment. She also supported infrastructure developments for remote services and work, electronic health records, and online training.
“My career and life have been so enriched by all the members of the Pathlight community over the past two decades,” Banta said. “I look forward to the next phase of my life and continuing to see the growth and innovation at Pathlight.”
Hank Drapalski, president of the Pathlight board of directors, has worked with Banta since her early days at Pathlight and said that she has a well-deserved reputation for her depth of knowledge and level of skill.
“Ruth has committed herself wholeheartedly to our organization and has accomplished many great things during her career with Pathlight,” he said. “The entire board will miss her — Ruth has been wonderful to work with — and we all hope she will have many years of enjoyment ahead of her in retirement.”