Processing Your Payment

Please do not leave this page until complete. This can take a few moments.

March 19, 2024

Maine nonprofit leader who got more kids into winter sports will leave to run statewide charity

After leading Westbrook nonprofit WinterKids to nearly 10-fold growth since 2011, Executive Director Julie Mulkern is stepping down to become CEO for Ronald McDonald House Charities of Maine.

person with brown hair and brown shirt smiling
Courtesy / WinterKids
Julie Mulkern

“WinterKids has meant so much to me for nearly 15 years,” said Mulkern, who starts her new job on April 29. “I have enjoyed helping the organization grow in effective ways to help thousands more Maine kids to be active outdoors in the winter.”

The organization is looking for a consulting firm to help with the search for Mulkern's successor.

“As Julie hands over the reins, we have the comfort of knowing that WinterKids is poised for a great future with a talented board and staff fully committed to our mission,” said Parker Swenson, WinterKids’ board president.

WinterKids started in 1997 as part of the Ski Maine Association with a “learn to ski” program for fifth-graders.

The program became an independent nonprofit in 2000, with a mission to promote outdoor learning and winter activities for children and families.

Mulkern came into the organization as development director for a year and was appointed executive director in 2011.

Since then, she has led the organization’s growth financially, programmatically and geographically. Three strategic plans have resulted in growth from 5,000 children to over 45,000 kids annually and from a budget of $200,000 to $1.5 million annually. 

“Julie has had such an enormous influence on the continued growth of WinterKids across the past decade-plus,” said Swenson. 

Winter wonderland

New programs during Mulkern’s tenure included the development of the WinterKids App, which replaced a longstanding WinterKids Passport paper booklet. The app platform was licensed in New Hampshire and Michigan as a new revenue stream to bolster Maine programs. 

The app provides discounts to various winter recreational activities such as skiing and snowboarding. Altogether, the app and passport have been used by over 400,000 Maine children. 

Hundreds of children have participated in free ski lessons as part of the organization’s Cooper Campbell Day, a ski day for kids that honors the memory of Cooper Campbell, the son of Steve Campbell, a former WinterKids’ board member and benefactor. 

The WinterKids Winter Games, developed by Mulkern and Marion Doyle, the organization’s longtime education director, engages children, teachers and families in the WinterKids Learn Outside Guide via a four-week outdoor physical activity and nutrition challenge. In seven years, the program has served over 40,000 elementary schoolchildren in Maine. 

Children in 14 other states have participated in the games through a Playalong Track developed by WinterKids during the pandemic. The program won the Maine Public Health Association’s Program of Excellence Award in 2017. 

Mulkern led the development of the WinterKids Downhill 24, a winter fundraiser, with Will Stiles, a former board president. The event has raised over $5 million for WinterKids programs over the last decade. That success also led to creation of the D24 Outdoor Fund, which has provided grants totaling more than $500,000 to schools, recreational programs and other nonprofits helping kids get outdoors. 

WinterKids continues to offer its app and a wide variety of activities including Learn Outside Guides & Virtual Training, Winter Games, Family Days, Learn to Ski Free Days, Welcome to Winter, Peisner Nordic Program, StoryWalk & Snowshoe Loan Program and the D24 Outdoor Fund. 

Overall, the organization expects to help 50,000 children enjoy winter activities this year. 

Sign up for Enews

Related Content


Order a PDF