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Long-time board member and former Healthcare CEO sees current strategic initiatives key to revitalizing organization, programs and community impact

Focus: HOPE is pleased to name Vernice (Vern) Davis Anthony, longtime board member and former president & CEO of the Greater Detroit Area Health Council (GDAHC), as interim CEO of the 50-year-old non-profit organization, effective January 29. She succeeds Jason D. Lee who has joined Detroit Employment Solutions Corporation’s (DESC) as Executive Director of Grow Detroit’s Young Talent program.

While at Focus: HOPE, Lee was responsible for the nonprofit’s operations, direction, strategy, innovation and communications. He led collaborative efforts with DESC’s healthcare training initiative and developed WIMTECH (Women in Manufacturing & Technology).

“We wish Jason well on his new endeavor and look forward to continuing our collaboration with him, DESC and the City of Detroit,” said Jay Craig, Focus: HOPE Board Chair and CEO and president of Meritor Inc., a strong supporter of Focus: HOPE. “We are taking the necessary steps to create a financially sound and programmatically relevant organization. These steps require strong and decisive leadership. Vern is a well-established leader within the Metro Detroit community and cares passionately about our mission. She shares our organization’s values and is committed to our legacy.”

“As a board member, Vern has gone out of her way to develop relationships with the staff, and we believe she is the ideal leader who can transition our organization back to our roots of education and empowerment,” said Focus: HOPE Vice Chair Lizabeth Ardisana. “She brings deep ties to the community and has a proven track record with the state, city, funders and corporate partners.”

“I am pleased to be able to offer my leadership as CEO on an interim basis,” Anthony said.  “I am very excited about the future of Focus: HOPE, and thank Jason for his leadership and bringing us to this juncture. Our recent strategic thinking has placed us in a strong position to make an even greater impact in our community, consistent with our mission.”

Over the past several months, Focus: HOPE has reviewed all aspects of the business and has developed a detailed strategic plan for moving forward. Some of those elements include ensuring future programs are aligned with the organization’s mission and assessing its real estate holdings to maximize opportunities.

In addition, Focus: HOPE recently contracted with Financial One Accounting, Inc. The company, which will serve in the CFO function and will ensure processes are maintained, provides accounting, financial and management solutions specifically tailored to non-profit organizations.

“We are especially grateful to the outstanding Focus: HOPE Board and funders who have been instrumental in supporting us the past several decades and into the future,” Anthony said. “They are key to preserving the organization’s future, while maintaining our 50-year legacy.”

“Flex-N-Gate couldn’t ask for a better partner than Focus: HOPE as a provider of the FNG-Focus: HOPE Manufacturing Training Program.” said Bill Beistline, Vice President of Global Procurement, Flex-N-Gate. “The program will emphasize manufacturing skill sets as well as what it takes to be qualified and prepared to work in the manufacturing environment itself. Focus: HOPE has a longstanding commitment to the Detroit community, providing work readiness training and more to develop the best workforce imaginable. Flex-N-Gate looks forward to sharing in this commitment to Detroit, both immediately and into the future.”

Anthony served as the health officer at three levels of government, city, county and state. In the nonprofit arena, she held positions including Senior Vice President for Urban Health at Ascension Health (formerly St John Health) and CEO of the Greater Detroit Health Council. She has also held several high-level board appointments including Wayne State University Board of Governors, Western Michigan University Board Chair and Chair of the Detroit Wayne County Airport Authority. She also serves on several boards including the Board of the Congregation of St. Joseph Foundation.

She has been recognized and presented Distinguished Alumni Awards from both Wayne State University and University of Michigan, School of Public Health, the Michigan Women’s Foundation Humanitarian Award, Crain’s Detroit Business 100 Most Influential Women and 100 most Influential Blacks, Michigan’s Most Powerful Women from Corp! Magazine, Alternative for Girls Role Model Award and Detroit Free Press Eleanor Josaitis Shining Light Award for Regional Leadership.

Focus: HOPE is a nationally recognized civil and human rights organization founded in 1968 after the Detroit riots. Throughout the years, Focus: HOPE has developed numerous programs in its efforts to overcome racism, poverty and injustice that includes Education & Workforce Development, Food & Basic Needs and community revitalization called The HOPE Village Initiative.

Through Focus: HOPE, thousands of individuals of all backgrounds and circumstances have achieved financial independence and have been provided opportunities for brighter futures.

For more information, visit http://www.focushope.edu.

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