Catholic Charities Fort Worth (CCFW) announced in a release that President/CEO Heather Reynolds is leaving the organization effective at the end of the year to become Managing Director of the Wilson Sheehan Lab for Economic Opportunities (LEO) at the University of Notre Dame.
For the last 17 years, Reynolds has overseen the strategic direction for the Fort Worth-based, $45 million non-profit. With nearly 400 employees and four locations throughout the 28 counties that make up the Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth, CCFW serves tens of thousands of people each year through its diverse services, poverty solutions, and income-generating social enterprises. Reynolds began her professional career at 22 as an intern in the clinical counseling department at CCFW, then progressed to full-time employment in fundraising.
Reynolds took the helm as CEO at only 25 years old, following the passing of the previous executive director, Karen Spicer, with a budget of $8 million and 150 employees.
Reynolds has spearheaded the agency’s vision to end poverty, one family at a time. In going after the impossible of ending poverty, she has become the driving force behind some of the most spectacular changes in the agency’s 108-year history. She pioneered the agency’s first ever strategy map, with a focus on impact, not outputs. She has led the agency to say “yes” to the needs of the community by adding to its robust portfolio of services, including an International Foster Care program, homeless services, a transportation department and the launching of a research and evaluation department.
Reynolds introduced for-profit business ventures to the portfolio of CCFW services, including the Translation and Interpretation Network (TIN) that generates over half a million dollars in revenue annually. And as a woman who never stops seeking fresh solutions, Reynolds originally partnered with Catholic Charities USA and LEO to launch two pilots: Padua and Stay the Course. Padua is a bold research initiative aimed at demystifying assumptions about poverty and rigorously evaluating the effectiveness of poverty-ending practices, and Stay the
Course is a community college persistence project studying the efficacy of case management in college completion.
In times of crisis, Reynolds lead the organization to step up to welcome children removed from the FLDS compounds in San Angelo, TX, aided thousands of families after Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Harvey, expanded shelter beds during the 2014 unaccompanied minors border crisis, and worked tirelessly to house and care for children separated from their parents at the border in 2018. Recently, she supported getting the community LVTRise project off the ground.
“Serving with the incredible team at CCFW over the last almost 17 years has been one of the greatest joys of my life,” says Reynolds. “To be a part of something that matters and matters to so many—to investors who give, to staff and volunteers who serve, to community members who support, and to clients who allow us to walk this journey with them—has been a privilege. My love of CCFW and my love for this mission is unwavering. And I have no doubt that the incredible team at CCFW will continue to do amazing things to carry forward our focus on creating evidence-backed solutions to poverty, eradicating the poverty families experience, and transforming the way poverty is being addressed. I will be your biggest cheerleader from the sidelines!”’
Reynolds will be with CCFW through December 14th. Upon her departure, current Chief Operating Officer Paul Boyd will serve as interim CEO until a new CEO is named.
ABOUT CATHOLIC CHARITIES FORT WORTH
Catholic Charities Fort Worth (CCFW) is an enterprising nonprofit with a belief that ending poverty is possible. Our diverse services, poverty solutions, and income-generating social enterprises help tens of thousands in our 28 county diocese each year, most of whom are the working poor, some of whom are even Catholic. We strategically challenge the way poverty is addressed nationwide by scrupulously testing our own case management methods through research partnerships, exporting our known solutions to other non-profits, and serving as a resource for what works on Capitol Hill. We have a bold goal to end poverty for 10,000 families in our community by 2026. We invite you to come and check out our nonprofit 2.0 approach. Find out more on the organization’s website.