Shakeup in Portland’s nonprofit community: United Way, Camp Sunshine make changes at the top

Suzanne McCormick (BDN file photo)

Suzanne McCormick (BDN file photo)

At least two of Greater Portland’s most visible nonprofit organizations are announcing big changes in leadership.

On Tuesday, United Way of Greater Portland announced its CEO, Suzanne McCormick, will be leaving to accept that same post at United Way Suncoast in Florida’s Tampa Bay area.

Said McCormick in a statement:

This opportunity came at just the right time. We have a strong strategic plan in place here in Portland. The staff is excellent and the board is actively supportive of our mission and goals. The United Way of Greater Portland is well-positioned to move forward. And for my family, this is also a good time. My children are still in middle school and eager for a new adventure and my husband is happy to make this transition too.

McCormick has been a significant figure in Portland area nonprofits for 20 years. She came to the local United Way branch in 1994 and served in a variety of leadership positions for eight years before leaving for top jobs at the American Red Cross of Southern Maine and the Peoples’ Regional Opportunity Program. In 2010, she returned to the United Way of Greater Portland as its CEO.

Victoria Loring, president of the United Way of Greater Portland board of directors, had this to say about her departing CEO:

Suzanne is an exemplary executive who has brought invaluable leadership to the United Way of Greater Portland. She’ll be greatly missed, but we are excited for her to have this opportunity, and certainly proud that the great work she’s done here caught the eye of the United Way Suncoast. The strong foundation she’s laid here will support UWGP well through a smooth transition and into the future.

According to the Herald-Tribune newspaper of Sarasota, Florida, McCormick got a degree in political science from Duke University and worked in Thailand with the Peace Corps following graduation from college.

In her role with the local United Way branch, McCormick has been outspoken on a range of topics, such as education, family finances and homelessness.

Gary Barron (photo courtesy of Camp Sunshine)

Gary Barron (photo courtesy of Camp Sunshine)

But while one major area nonprofit is losing its leader to Florida, another is taking its next helmsman from that same state. (So the net nonprofit transfer rate between Florida and Maine for the week remains at zero.)

Casco-based Camp Sunshine announced today it has hired Gary A. Barron — founder and former president of Sunrise, Florida,-based SheerBliss Ice Cream — as its next executive director.

The Sebago Lake-front camp offers children with life-threatening diseases and their families no-cost, weeklong getaways.

Said Camp Sunshine founder and board chairwoman Anna Gould:

On behalf of Camp Sunshine, the Board, staff, volunteers and families, I am delighted to announce that Gary Barron has joined our team as executive director. Gary comes with an extensive background in not-for-profits and development. We all look forward to having Gary lead camp into an exciting future as we begin our fourth decade of serving families of children with life-threatening illnesses.

According to a Camp Sunshine announcement, Barron has a pretty stacked resume, including White House jobs under Presidents Ford, Carter and Reagan; worked as treasurer for the Democratic National Committee; and held high-ranking jobs or board positions with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the Vitas Healthcare Corporation, the Anti-Defamation League, the Scleroderma Foundation and the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council.

Barron issued this statement about his new post at Camp Sunshine:

I am thrilled to join in the important work of Camp Sunshine. It is heartwarming to see the significant impact Camp Sunshine makes on the children and their families who come here. I look forward to working with our amazing staff, incredible volunteers and the Camp Sunshine Board to build upon the great success of the past 30 years.

Seth Koenig

About Seth Koenig

Seth has nearly a decade of professional journalism experience and writes about the greater Portland region.