President of California’s Largest Marriage Education Organization Steps Down

Dennis Stoica, the founder of Healthy Relationships California, has resigned as president of the nationally recognized non-profit organization, formerly known as California Healthy Marriages Coalition (CHMC).  “After ten years of working to improve the health of couples, families and relationships throughout California by offering Relationship and Marriage Education classes, the time has come for me to make a change,” says Stoica.

Over the last decade, Dennis Stoica’s vision and leadership resulted in numerous accomplishments including:

  • Establishment of the Orange County Marriage Resource Center and the nation’s first online clearinghouse of Relationship and Marriage Education classes;
  • Launching CHMC which received more than $12 million in grants for Relationship and Marriage Education (RME) classes over six years;
  • Conducting and releasing the findings from a robust study on The State of California’s Unions: Marriage and Divorce in the Golden State;
  • Administering more than $5 million to 30 non-profit and community organizations serving diverse populations in California with RME classes conducted in several languages;
  • Receiving the coveted Smart Marriages Impact Award;
  • Overseeing the rebranding of CHMC to Healthy Relationships California (HRC), which received a three-year, $7.5 million grant for RME classes to low income and underserved populations;
  • Speaking at a recent UN conference on “Family Policy in Modern Western Society” in Geneva, Switzerland;
  • Additionally, Stoica was prominent in the national efforts to secure $150 million per year in funding from the Obama Administration for Healthy Marriage and Responsible Fatherhood programs.

“Personally, the most satisfying aspect of all of this for me is that more than 140,000 Californians have attended one of the RME classes our organization has sponsored, and based off of extensive outcome evaluation of our classes, I know that the communication and conflict management skills they learned have enabled them to make marked improvements in the quality of their marriages and relationships,” says Stoica.  “It is also very gratifying to see how over the past decade public awareness has increased about the importance of Relationship and Marriage Education as powerful ways to prevent divorce, help kids get a strong start in life, and to prevent a whole host of problems associated with family breakdown.  This growing awareness is a very important trend.”


Patty Howell, who has served as the organization’s Vice President since 2005, has been named as Stoica’s successor.  “There is no one better qualified to take HRC to the next level. Patty has been an integral part of HRC since the beginning, her leadership abilities and knowledge of RME are second to none, and she is an important leader in this field” says Stoica.


Howell has 30 years of experience teaching relationship education programs in 14 countries around the world.  She is the co-developer of the popular World Class Marriage/World Class Relationships programs, and is the author of many professional publications including The Case for Relationship Education and the award-winning Healthy Marriages booklet series.  Like Stoica, she is a recipient of the Smart Marriages Impact Award.


Dennis Stoica will continue providing support and leadership to the organization by serving as HRC’s Chairman of the Board, along with other board members including Maggie Russell and Harville Hendrix.

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