Column: Atlanta nonprofit group Families First seeking new CEO
By Maria Saporta
As published in the Atlanta Business Chronicle on Sept. 7, 2018
Atlanta nonprofit Families First is once again looking for a new CEO. Terry Tucker resigned as CEO on Aug. 27, only 11 months after he had joined the organization, which serves at-risk youth and their families.
“We continue to do business as usual at Families First,” said Alice Bagley, the nonprofit’s director of marketing and communications. “This organization is 128 years old. We are continuing to do the work we have been charged with doing.”
In an extensive interview, Tucker said he realized that at this point in his life, he wants to focus on helping nonprofits improve their data integration as a way to improve their impact and outcomes.
“Families First deserves a CEO who zeroes in on what Families First needs – to take their strategy for the next five or 10 years,” Tucker said. “With about 30 programs at Families First, my focus was split to where I was not able to deliver for Families First. I need to focus on more than just one nonprofit.”
Later, he added, “I decided it was time for me to move on.”
Tucker joined Families First after serving as chief strategy officer and general counsel for City of Refuge, a multi-dimensional nonprofit that is focused on serving people in need on the Westside. He succeeded Kim Anderson, who had been CEO of the organization for nearly eight years.
Last September, Tucker said in an interview that he was drawn to joining Families First because he would be able to impact the lives of thousands of kids.
But less than year later, Tucker said, “In my mind, there was definitely a better fit than me long term.”
Delmont “Del” Early, Families First’s board chair who is a vice president for Ackerman & Co., refrained from making comments, referring all questions to Bagley.
Tucker said there are no issues of financial management. “They have over $1 million in reserves that they didn’t have a year ago,” Tucker said. “Reserves are approaching $2 million. That’s in addition to a $17 million endowment.”
Families First also had its most successful Dining for a Difference fundraising event in 2018 than any year since it debuted in 1999. Since its inception, the event has raised more than $4.5 million. This year, the event raised about $1.1 million compared to about $650,000 last year.
Meanwhile, long-time board member and former chair Marybeth Learner has stepped in as interim CEO. Leamer retired in May as executive vice president of human resources and administration for Cox Enterprises.
The board has set up a search committee that is co-chaired by Courtney Showell, director of health services for PricewaterhouseCoopers; and Marcia Nuffer, a community volunteer. Bagley said the committee likely will engage a search firm to help identify prospective candidates. Leamer is not vying for the position.
Affordable housing in Adair Park
Columbia Residential has purchased Capitol View Apartments in Adair Park, near a primary entrance to the Atlanta BeltLine’s Westside Trail.
The southwest Atlanta complex will be restored and preserved, creating a quality affordable community directly on the BeltLine. The project is a collaborative effort between Columbia Residential, the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the Enterprise Community Loan Fund, Invest Atlanta and the Georgia Department of Community Affairs to revitalize and preserve the complex. Capitol View was originally was built in 1948, and it has 120 units at Metropolitan Parkway and University Avenue. Redevelopment plans will focus on sustainable renovation and construction in a manner compatible with preserving the history of the community.
The one- and two-bedroom apartments will serve families and individuals earning 50 percent to 70 percent of area median income in a location where development pressure and revitalization efforts are putting affordable housing out of reach for many families.
“The preservation of Capitol View represents what can be accomplished when local public-private partnerships and philanthropic organizations collaborate around their goals of preserving and sustaining affordable housing in revitalizing communities,” said Natallie Keiser, a senior associate at the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Atlanta Civic Site. “As progress on the BeltLine continues, it’s more important than ever to intentionally create and preserve quality, affordable housing options for existing residents.”
Carmen Chubb, deputy commissioner for housing at the Georgia Department of Community Affairs, said Atlanta has a growing need for affordable housing, and her department was able to offer housing tax credits to create affordable housing.
The purchase of Capitol View Apartments was made possible through a $5 million acquisition loan from Enterprise Community Loan Fund with a guarantee by the Casey Foundation, a $1.5 million loan from City of Atlanta and a $1.5 million loan from the Georgia Housing and Finance Authority.
The renovation will be financed through low-income housing tax credits, historic renovation tax credits and a range of local and state housing program resources, as well as private investment.
Columbia Residential will manage the community and provide services to residents in the pre-construction period and following renovations. Construction is expected to begin mid-2019.
“Enterprise Community Partners and Enterprise Community Loan Fund are excited to be a partner in lending solutions for the preservation of affordable housing,” said Meaghan Shannon-Vlkovic, vice president and Southeast market leader for Enterprise’s Community Partners. “We recognize that coordination of public and private partnerships, strategy and capital will be critical to maintain affordability in emerging communities.”
Westside Future Fund new members
The Westside Future Fund has added two new members to its board – Dr. Valerie Montgomery Rice, president and dean of the Morehouse School of Medicine; and Beverly Thomas, vice president of communications and public affairs for Kaiser Permanente of Georgia.
The new members were elected during Westside Future Fund’s August board meeting. Now the organization has a 21-member board comprised of leaders in education, real estate, government, philanthropy, community development, business, sports, arts and culture, medicine and health care.
The board works closely with Westside Future Fund’s executive director, John Ahmann, and staff on the execution of strategies around four areas of impact – cradle-to-career education; health and wellness; mixed-income communities and safety and security – with resident and community retention at its core.
Dr. Rice and Thomas will help guide the further development and execution of Westside Future Fund’s community health and wellness impact strategy. It willbuild on the work of the Westside Healthcare Collaborative, sponsored by the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation.
Richard Dugas, the retired president and CEO of Pulte Homes, serves as the Fund’s board chair. Beverly Tatum, president emeritus of Spelman College, serves as vice chair.
Turknett Leadership awards
The Turknett Leadership Group and Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership will not only honor Andrew Young with its Lifetime Achievement Award at its annual luncheon on Oct. 9 at the Georgia Aquarium.
It also will recognize 58 nominees, and one nominee in each category will be selected by a 2018 advisory board to receive a leadership award. Nominated individuals demonstrate integrity, balance respect and responsibility.
It is the 13th annual Leadership Character Awards, and the highpoint will be the Lifetime Achievement Award that will be given to Young, a civil and human rights pioneer, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations and former mayor of Atlanta.
“It is a privilege to recognize Ambassador Young with this prestigious award,” said Pat Falotico, CEO of Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership. “Few of us have been tested the way he has been throughout his life yet he continues to serve the needs of others. He is a role model of courage, character and servant leadership.”