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Michigan Nonprofit Association CEO Donna Murray-Brown resigns

Candice Williams
The Detroit News

The Michigan Nonprofit Association announced Tuesday that its CEO, Donna Murray-Brown, has resigned. Her departure is due to a spousal job change that will take their family out of state, according to the association. 

“I love Michigan and serving the state of Michigan,” she said Tuesday. “Detroit is my home. This is going to be a big deal emotionally to move from my hometown.”

Donna Murray-Brown

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Murray-Brown will stay with the association until Dec. 31 and provide consulting services through the first quarter of 2022, according to the organization. 

The association applauded Murray-Brown for her efforts to promote diversity, equity and inclusion in the nonprofit sector. She's credited with “leading significant restructuring and engagement efforts among the organization’s programming and leadership.”

The association said Murray-Brown made sure that Michigan was included in important national conversations by developing partnerships with state and national organizations.

“This is difficult news for all of us,” Scott Schropp, MNA board chair, said in a statement Tuesday. “During challenging times, the gift of great leadership is one to cherish more than ever, and Donna has been a reliable source of unruffled, courageous and profound direction each and every day. Her work will have a tremendous impact on our state’s nonprofit sector for generations to come.”

As she leaves the association, Murray-Brown said she expects the importance of nonprofits to be highlighted in a post-pandemic world.

“When we had the pandemic, there was so much attention to food banks providing people with food and all kinds of ancillary support,” she said. “All kinds of meaningful, impactful work, and I’m hoping as we move forward, nonprofits are not a second thought but a first thought as being integral to what it means to have a strong community.”

Before becoming CEO in 2013, Murray-Brown served as director of the association's Metro Detroit partnership office and was the senior director of capacity building. She's been with the organization since 2009.

As the first woman of color to lead the organization, Murray-Brown said she feels strongly about people of color having a pathway to leadership in the nonprofit sector.

“That’s something I’ve been working on almost all my career,” she said. “To make sure there are pathways and breaking down barriers to that.”

Murray-Brown noted the BIPOC (Black, indigenous and people of color) Census the MNA is conducting with the Knight Foundation and Data Driven Detroit. The effort aims to identify the Black, indigenous and people of color who are leaders in the nonprofit sector to create a narrative about their work and the contributions in Detroit.

“We’re also taking that work statewide,” she said. “This is also the ability to build the foundation of not only changing the narrative, but really making sure that investment is placed into their leadership for them to be successful, because I believe that they’re an integral part to communities reaching their highest potential when you have people who are from the communities in leadership.”

The MNA has already begun to form a search committee to hire a new CEO. Incompass Michigan CEO Todd Culver will head the recruitment effort.

Twitter: @CWilliams_DN