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In the late 1970s, Delilah Rumburg was pursuing a career in computers when she found her true calling.

In 1981 she began working at Access-York, a domestic violence shelter in York County, where she remained until the early 1990s.

“I immediately knew that this was going to be my life’s work,” she said.

Rumburg's time with Access-York led to the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape (PCAR), which she joined in 1995 as CEO.

The coalition announced this week that Rumburg will be retiring after 23 years with the organization.

“I loved this work," she said Friday afternoon. "I loved having the privilege to do this.”

Advocacy: Rumburg, 67, of Manchester, moved to the York area in 1979. She was studying computers at Penn State when she started work at Access-York.

Rumburg said she always wanted to help people, and working at the shelter allowed her to do so.

“I immediately became an activist and an advocate for this work," she said.

She left the shelter in 1990 to work for the American Heart Association. In 1995, the CEO position at PCAR opened up, and an Access-York board member brought it to Rumburg's attention.

She has been there ever since and expects to remain until the end of 2017 while a replacement is sought.

PCAR: Rumburg said she has seen the coalition  grow in her 23 years with the organization.

She said there were 12 employees and a budget of about $4 million when she started with PCAR. Now, she said, there are about 50 employees and the budget is just under $20 million.

Rumburg said she was able to experience a lot.

During both President Bill Clinton's and President George W. Bush's administrations, Rumburg was appointed to serve on the National Advisory Committee on Violence Against Women, where she said she was able to meet six attorneys general.

She also was appointed to work with the Department of Defense on sexual violence at military academies.

"I was able to testify before Congress on recommendations," Rumburg added.

Additionally, she was appointed to serve on another task force that dealt with sexual violence in the military. As a result, she was able to travel to places such as Kuwait and Iraq between 2005 and 2009.

"That was probably one of the best experiences," Rumburg said.

Meeting people: Rumburg said her job involved meeting a lot of people, ranging from employees at various companies to victims.

"It really is getting out there and getting to know people," she said.

For victims, Rumburg said, it's important they know advocates are listening to them.

"The people who have been impacted by violence — they drive our passion," she said.

In addition to speaking with victims, she said, she helped get other organizations, including the NFL and Penn State, to work alongside advocacy groups.

According to a release from PCAR, Rumburg helped develop a partnership with the NFL and the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault, and the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence, which led to the creation of Raliance.

The goal of Raliance is to end sexual violence in one generation.

She said PCAR also worked alongside Penn State during the Jerry Sandusky child sexual assault case.

“We’re really proud of the fact that people, not only in Pennsylvania, but nationally, see us as a leader in this work," Rumburg said.

Dr. Denise Johnson, president of the board of PCAR, said Rumburg has a willingness to collaborate with different organizations.

“She was really able to come together with different groups and for our common ground," she said.

Looking back on her career, Rumbug said she wishes she had raised more money for organizations.

"There's never enough money" to support organizations such as Access-York and the YWCA, she said.

Future: Rumburg said she decided to retire because it felt like the right time. In retiring, she said she will be able to travel more and spend time with her family.

Additionally, Rumburg said a change in leadership is healthy for any organization.

She intends to stay until at least the end of the year while the PCAR board searches for her replacement.

Johnson said Rumburg will assist the board in finding a replacement.

“I think that she’s had an impactful legacy, she’s got a great staff, and they’re motivated to continue to work that they’ve done," Johnson said.

Rumburg said she's looking forward to retirement, but she is going to miss her job, which she didn't classify as "work."

"It's not work — it's a life-changing experience," she said.

— Reach Christopher Dornblaser at cdornblaser@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @YDDornblaser.

 

 

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