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City Year co-founder Michael Brown to step down in June as CEO after 30 years of national service leadership

BOSTON (January 28, 2019)–City Year, a national education nonprofit that helps students and schools succeed, today announced that its co-founder Michael Brown will step down from his CEO position this June at the conclusion of the organization’s 30th anniversary year.

Brown will serve as a senior adviser to the organization through June 2020 to support the leadership transition and promote the success of The City Year Campaign, City Year’s current capital campaign. In addition, Brown will continue to serve on City Year’s national board as a charter trustee.

“It has been the honor of a lifetime to do this work, arm in arm with a tremendous community of idealists and champions,” said Brown. “It is due to the strength of City Year’s staff and board leadership and our committed supporters that I am able to step down as CEO this June, confident in the knowledge that City Year’s greatest years lie ahead. To everyone who has ever worn the City Year jacket, I want to say ‘thank you,’ and let you know that you have been, and will always be, a deep source of inspiration to me.”

Brown and his co-founders launched City Year in 1988 with the goals of uniting young adults from diverse backgrounds for a year of full-time community service, leadership development and civic engagement, and inspiring public policy that promoted national service opportunities for America’s young adults. City Year, which now serves exclusively in public schools, has grown from 50 members in Boston to 3,000 City Year AmeriCorps members serving in 29 U.S. cities, with affiliate programs in South Africa and the U.K. Since its founding, City Year has generated 30,000 alumni nationwide, served more than 1.9 million children, and completed over 52 million hours of service. City Year’s alumni have been awarded more than $150 million in scholarships from the National Service Trust for their service in City Year. The organization’s annual budget is nearly $200 million.

Brown has been a leading advocate for the concept of voluntary national service, and City Year served as an inspiration for the federal national service program AmeriCorps, an innovative public-private partnership that has engaged more than one million Americans in service since 1994.

“On behalf of City Year’s National Board of Trustees and all of City Year’s stakeholders, I would like to express deep gratitude to Michael for his three decades of extraordinary service, including the past 12 years as CEO,” said Jonathan Lavine, Co-Chair of the Board and Co-Managing Partner, Bain Capital, LP. “There are many successful nonprofits led by talented leaders, but we can say with confidence that Michael’s inspirational leadership is exceptional.”

For his achievements at City Year, Brown has been awarded the Independent Sector’s John Gardner Leadership Award, the Reebok Human Rights Award and been named one of America’s best leaders by U.S. News and World Report.

“Michael has a profound commitment to social justice and an unshakable sense of idealism. He is a leading social entrepreneur of our time,” said David L. Cohen, Co-Chair of the Board and Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer of Comcast Corporation. “We’re grateful that Michael will continue his involvement in City Year, and look forward to building upon the organization’s successes in the years to come.”

In a message to the national City Year community, Brown stated that the conclusion of the organization’s 30th anniversary year is the right milestone to begin a “new chapter” dedicated to “leading on initiatives that are important to me in the nonprofit, philanthropic and social change arenas and mentoring and teaching a new generation of nonprofit leaders and social entrepreneurs.”

In consultation with the Board of Trustees, Lavine and Cohen will appoint a committee to launch a national search for City Year’s next CEO.  The search will be open to internal and external candidates with a focus on identifying the strongest and most qualified candidate to serve as City Year’s next CEO.


About City Year
City Year helps students and schools succeed. Fueled by national service, City Year partners with public schools in 29 high-need communities across the U.S. and through international affiliates in the U.K. and South Africa. Diverse teams of City Year AmeriCorps members provide research-based student, classroom and school-wide supports to help students stay in school and on track to graduate, ready for college and career success. A 2015 study shows that schools that partner with City Year were up to two-to-three times more likely to improve on math and English assessments. A proud member of the AmeriCorps national service network, City Year is supported by the Corporation for National and Community Service, local school districts, and private philanthropy from corporations, foundations and individuals.

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