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Focus: HOPE named Portia Roberson the organization's new CEO on Wednesday.

She was selected by Focus: HOPE's board of directors to succeed Vernice Davis-Anthony, the current interim CEO.

Roberson previously spent four years as group executive for Civil Rights, Inclusion and Opportunity with the City of Detroit where she worked to ensure all major economic development projects within Detroit were locally owned or based.

She said in a statement that she is honored to be named the new CEO and plans to continue working closely with the City of Detroit in her new role.

“As a lifelong Detroiter, I know the history of the organization and how important it has been to our community," Roberson said.

"I am looking forward to continuing the work of interim CEO Vernice Davis-Anthony and ensuring that we remain focused and engaged on our mission to use intelligent and practical action to fight racism, poverty and injustice."As CEO, she will continue the legacy of the nonprofit that was created after the 1967 uprising in Detroit with the goal of using “intelligent and practical action to overcome racism, poverty and injustice."

“Portia Roberson is an excellent choice to lead Focus: HOPE. I am really pleased for her and the organization,” Mayor Mike Duggan said.

“Focus: HOPE plays a critical role in preparing so many Detroiters for career opportunities. Portia's combination of her deep, personal history in the area of civil rights and as a strong administrator will serve Focus: HOPE extremely well for years to come.”

In addition to her role with the city, Roberson has served as corporation counsel for its law department, White House Domestic Policy Council for “Strong Cities, Strong Communities” and director of the Office of Intergovernmental and Public Liaison under Attorney General Eric Holder, a news release said.

Roberson is a member of the State Bar of Michigan and the Wolverine Bar Association, which is an African-American law association. She graduated from Cass Technical High School, the University of Michigan Ann Arbor, where she majored in English, and received a law degree from Wayne State University Law School.

Jay Craig, Focus: HOPE board chairman and CEO of Meritor, said Roberson will begin her duties by mid-September.

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