February 13, 2017 – Executive search firm The Chason Group has placed Sarah H. McKinney as president and chief executive officer of the Athens Area Community Foundation. Past CEO Delene Porter recently announced her resignation. Tim Chason, the firm’s president, led the assignment.
Candidates were chosen for interviews based on their previous positions and skills sets. Leadership, business acumen and development were identified early by the search committee as the top three attributes needed by candidates in order move forward in the process. Extensive interviews and background checks were subsequently held with finalists for the post.
“Compassion and development experience were two key traits the search committee was looking for as they reviewed candidates for the president seat,” said Mr. Chason.
Ms. McKinney currently serves as director of development for the Georgia 4-H Foundation based at the University of Georgia in Athens, a leadership position she has held since 2015. Prior to her move to Georgia 4-H, she was director of development and volunteer Services for the Athens Community Council on Aging. She becomes only the second professional to fill the seat since the foundation’s inception in 2008.
Philanthropy and Passion
In her new role, Ms. McKinney will be accountable for the general implementation and supervision of all operations relating to AACF. Her key duties will include creating relationships with current and potential donors; serving as lead development and marketing officer; connecting with non-profit organizations in the area to collaborate in terms of identifying resources; and serving as a catalyst for leadership develop in the philanthropic arena.
“Sarah brings a great philanthropic and passionate mindset to the foundation,” said Bill Douglas, chair of the community foundation’s board and CEO/president of Athens First Bank & Trust. “Her background in community groups and development will provide her with the necessary skill sets to move us to a new level of service in the six counties we serve.”
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“Building successful and lasting relationships has been the foundation of my career,” said Ms. McKinney. “I understand what it means to leverage connections and collaborate to fulfill mission and vision. The opportunity to lead the foundation will further my passion to work with stakeholders, community leaders, and nonprofit organizations to address the critical needs of our area while at the same time build relationships with donors interested in a leaving a lasting legacy of philanthropy.”
As a public grant making community foundation, the Athens Area Community Foundation partners with donors, non-profits, and community institutions to build, distribute and preserve philanthropic assets to enhance quality of life in the area for generations to come. Counties served by the community foundation include Athens-Clarke, Barrow, Jackson, Madison, Oconee and Oglethorpe.
The Chason Group specializes in executive level searches for companies and non-profit organizations, strategic visioning plans, coordinating relationship building strategies, and building operating structures. Mr. Chason has over 30 years of experience in the business and non-profit world.
Past executive searches of the firm include the president of North Georgia Community Foundation, president of Brunswick & Glynn County Development Authority, and vice president of economic development for the Cumming-Forsyth Chamber of Commerce, one of the top 10 fastest growing communities in the U.S. Chason Group recently inked a partnership with the global commerce division of the Georgia Department of Economic Development to assist in identifying candidates for key contact positions throughout Georgia. The positions will be working with new and existing industries that have an interest in expanding their footprint in the state.
Contributed by Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor, Hunt Scanlon Media