Looking Back: Sunday Interview with Scott Ferguson
Scott Ferguson, who has led United Way of the Chattahoochee Valley nearly 12 years, has decided to call it a career and move back with his wife, Dona, to their home state of Maine.
The decision was announced Tuesday by the Columbus-based organization of which Ferguson has served as president and chief executive officer since August 2007. Over that time, he has raised $76,106,600 collectively during the annual fund-raising campaigns held in the community.
The local United Way has set a goal of raising $7 million for 2018. It typically funds nearly 60 programs within 29 non-profit agencies.
“Scott’s dedicated service to this community will benefit the people of the Chattahoochee Valley for many years to come,” Keith Pierce, the current United Way board chair, said in a release. “He has been more than the executive leader of our United Way. He has been an active servant, volunteer and advocate for the well-being of this great community.”
While Ferguson is not leaving the organization until next August, a search committee has been set up to seek his successor. Co-chairs of the panel are Phenix City Police Chief Ray Smith and Gwen Ruff at Columbus Water Works, the release said. The committee includes United Way board members and two United Way partner agency directors — Rodney Close of the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Chattahoochee Valley and Donna Morgan of Columbus Hospice of Georgia and Alabama.
“The committee plans to conduct a nationwide search beginning the first of the year and will work to ensure a smooth transition for United Way,” the organization said in the release, which noted Ferguson has led it to being one of the top 100 United Way operations out of 1,150 in the nation in terms of total revenues, while also excelling in per capita giving and participation by employees in the area.
Ferguson also fostered several new efforts while in Columbus, the organization said, including the formation of Home For Good: The Alliance to End Homelessness, 2-1-1, an information and referral line, Stuff the Bus, which supplies schoolchildren with backpacks and other items, and Women United, which led to its “Women Helping Women” platform.
“We have a great staff that is focused on the mission of the United Way and is dedicated to the organization,” Ferguson said in a statement. “Couple them with a board of directors and community leaders that are engaged and supportive, and there is nothing we cannot accomplish.”
His time at United Way of the Chattahoochee Valley will cap three decades of work with the organization nationally. He has worked with United Way in Aberdeen, S.D., Beloit, Wisc., Atlantic City, N.J., and Utica, N.Y.
As Ferguson retires, so will his wife, a health-care professional who is assistant professor of nursing at Columbus State University.