By Maria Saporta
As published in the Atlanta Business Chronicle on Feb. 10, 2017
Kelly Dolan, a veteran nonprofit leader in Atlanta who has been executive director of the Atlanta Women’s Foundation for the past four years, is moving back to Chicago to be near her aging parents.
The foundation’s board has named Kari Brown Love, vice president of development and communications, as Dolan’s successor. The transition of leadership will occur at the beginning of the nonprofit’s fiscal year on July 1.
It also is naming DiShonda Hughes as its executive vice president of mission — overseeing the organization’s grant-making, community education and public policy. Hughes has been with the foundation for 17 years.
Before joining the Atlanta Women’s Foundation, Dolan served as executive director of the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Greater Atlanta for eight years. She also served as vice president of marketing for Central Atlanta Progress and director of strategic marketing for the Egleston Children’s Healthcare System.
Dolan will work on the transition with the new leadership over the next five months, and the foundation will continue to implement its current strategies for fundraising, board development and collective impact funding to overcome the barriers that keep women and girls in a cycle of poverty.
The foundation has had successful results in fundraising during Dolan’s tenure. The 2016 Numbers Too Big to Ignore luncheon raised nearly $1.1 million to provide services to help women and girls become economically self-sufficient.
Its board includes such notables as John Haupert, president and CEO of Grady Health System; Becky Schmitt, CFO of LexisNexis Risk Solutions; Jennifer Hightower, general counsel and senior vice president of law at Cox Communications; and Mark Wasserman, managing partner for Eversheds Sutherland.
Love joined the Atlanta Women’s Foundation three years ago, continuing her 23-year career as a leader in the Atlanta nonprofit and broadcast communities. She began her career at WYAY & WYAI-FM and later moved to WFOX-FM as promotions and marketing director. She joined the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Georgia and Alabama in 2003, and she was serving as its vice president of corporate development and events before joining the Atlanta Women’s Foundation.
Dolan, who has spent her career in Atlanta, spoke lovingly of her adopted home –but shared constructive advice.
“It’s a town that is wide open to anyone who is willing to really work hard and learn and prepare while also seeing the many opportunities that the city provides,” she said.
“I think the biggest opportunity right now is in how we convert the fervor of activism into action and results,” Dolan added. “Atlanta has the largest income inequality gap in the country, and I see that as an opening for people who are willing to use all that they have learned and apply it not just in their own careers but on a civic level.”
Focus and Fragile Kids Foundation
Two local nonprofits serving families and children with special needs are consolidating their efforts to better serve more than 20,000 people in metro Atlanta.
Families of Children Under Stress Inc. (FOCUS) and the Fragile Kids Foundation are merging into one organization with a single mission – to offer services to families with children who are medically fragile or have developmental disabilities.
“Parents are so overwhelmed when a child is diagnosed with a lifelong disability that making just one more phone call is daunting,” said Lucy Cusick, executive director of FOCUS, in a statement. “By merging our two organizations under one roof, we hope to make life just a little easier. It allows us to offer families wrap-around services as well as more streamlined communication and overall, less overhead, allowing more dollars to go to the children and families we serve.”
The merged nonprofit – to be known as FOCUS + Fragile Kids – will now offer parents a variety of support: comfort through support groups and hospital visits, information through workshops and conferences and fun recreational programs that are accepting and wheelchair accessible, to helping parents find and fund the medical equipment that gives children mobility, safety, and independence.
“FOCUS and Fragile Kids have always had a complementary, not competitive, relationship to serve families who have children with special needs, which is why this merger makes so much sense,” said Jill Gossett, former interim executive director of the Fragile Kids Foundation.