Robin Rose, Girls Inc.

Nonprofit

BY JACOB OGLES SRQ DAILY MONDAY BUSINESS EDITION MONDAY MAY 11, 2015

When Robin Rose took over as executive director of Girls Incorporated of Sarasota County, the organization was dealing with debt issues. As she leaves to be closer to a new husband in the Jacksonville area, the organization is in sound financial condition. We spoke to Rose about her tenure at Girls Inc., and where the organization should go from here.

What do you consider the greatest accomplishments in your time at Girls Inc.?  We have a new high school initiative that allows us to continue to provide much needed programs to girls all the way through a post-secondary transition. We were chosen as a pilot site by the national organization to be a reading literacy site, which is huge because the national organization has a grant they received from the Kellogg Foundation. I’ve worked to make sure our goals are in line with community priorities such as the Campaign for Grade Level Reading, and this allows us to support literacy efforts of girls in kindergarten through third grade.

When you came on board, Girls Inc. was dealing with debt issues related to a Ponzi scheme regarding donor Art Nadel. How did that turn around for the organization?  That’s another high accomplishment that we did with the support of The Patterson Foundation. They helped offer to nonprofits that had been impacted to provide a match. We benefitted from [Patterson executive director] Debra Jacobs’ vision and forward-thinking, looking at how to get nonprofits to retire that debt and get back to taking care of their mission. It was a gift and a blessing to come on board as a leader at that time. With work from amazing donors, we were able to retire that debt. It was a huge accomplishment. 

As Girls Inc. conducts a search for a new director, what qualities do you think your successor should have? Every nonprofit organization everywhere in the United States is adapting to a business model to fit a post-recessionary environment. We have been very proactive about ensuring a strong business model. Nonprofit leaders today have to have both the head and the heart. They have to have a good business background and acumen, and they also have to have heart and passion for the mission.

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