CHAMPAIGN — A former University of Illinois president will lead the search for a new executive director for the Don Moyer Boys & Girls Club.
B. Joseph White, president emeritus and professor of business administration at the UI, will head the search committee to find a replacement for Executive Director Andre Arrington.
The club's board announced last month that it would not renew Arrington's contract, though he will stay on until his successor is chosen. Arrington has been executive director for 10 years.
Board members said Arrington had served the nonprofit organization well but felt it needed fresh leadership to secure its future, particularly in terms of funding.
Board President Toney Tomaso said the board felt White's leadership experience with the university made him an "obvious choice" to lead a diverse search committee, which includes business leaders, a Don Moyer parent, board members, a local pastor and a representative from the national Boys and Girls Clubs of America.
The panel held its first meeting Wednesday night.
The vice chairman is Don Moyer board member Gary Hinton, human resources manager of Flex-n-Gate. Board members Mark Ritz of BLDD Architects and Todd Peterson of Coventry Health Care are also on the panel.
Other members are: Francine Ausley, a Don Moyer parent who works at UI Facilities and Services; Mark Ballard, president of BankChampaign; Jane Hays of The Downey Group; Bill Hicks of the Boys & Girls Club of America's regional office in Schaumburg; Dave Lawrence, Don Moyer's first executive director, who is now retired; Sondra Libman; Howard Milton, associate director of development for the UI Division of Intercollegiate Athletics; Dale Morrissey, president and CEO of Developmental Services Center; the Rev. Rickey Parks of Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Church; and Cindy Somers, owner of Spherion.
The job opening will be posted for three weeks, starting Wednesday. The search committee will then choose applicants to move on to the interview phase in mid-March, Tomaso said.
The goal is to hire an executive director this spring, possibly before May 1, but no firm target date has been set, Tomaso said.
"At the top of my list is somebody who brings new ideas and energy to the position," along with an ability to raise money and create partnerships in the community with other not-for-profit groups, businesses or other organizations, Tomaso said.
White said the committee hopes to "recruit an outstanding next leader of the Boys and Girls Club who will be proficient at both securing resources and then using those resources for the benefit of the children and young people of our community."
"This organization needs resources," White added. "Every dollar is precious."
The club is coming off a tumultuous year, with four of its board members resigning in 2011 and financial problems forcing it to seek community help to keep its doors open. Arrington has said the club also needs a new facility.
"I think the Boys and Girls Club here is absolutely a vital resource, a crucial resource to many hundreds of children," White said Thursday. "It's had a really tough go, with a tremendous loss of state and federal financial support."
When Peterson asked him to serve, "I really considered it an honor," he said.
Shortly after he resigned as president in 2009, White was asked to a keynote address at the Illinois Summit on Early Childhood and Healthy Beginnings at the UI, which was designed to promote healthy development during the preschool years. Research shows the key to ensuring children attend college goes back to prenatal care and early childhood experiences, he said.
"I loved that project," White said. "There's nothing I care more about than young people and their development."