Gary Funk, Ed.D., announced at today’s CFO Affiliate Conference, attended by more than 65 indivduals representing 26 Ozarks’ communities, that he is stepping down from his role as President and CEO on June 30, 2010. Funk joined the Foundation in 1999, and he became President in 2003. Funk told those in attendance, “My work has been rewarding beyond words, and I have always been treated with kindness and respect. Still, organizations need change and so do people, and we are simply implementing a thoughtful succession plan that has been in place for nearly two years.”
During Funk’s seven years as President, CFO tripled its assets to $145 million, garnered $143 million in charitable contributions, and increased annual grantmaking from $2 million in 2002 to a record $15.9 million last year. The Foundation also launched key initiatives in the arts, conservation, rural capacity building, poverty alleviation, and education, while the affiliate network grew to 41 regional foundation partners. In addition, under Funk’s leadership, the Foundation moved into its new headquarters in downtown Springfield and opened regional offices in Carthage and West Plains.
Funk will remain with CFO for one year as a Senior Fellow, helping with transition issues and the newly launched Rural Schools Partnership. In addition, he will continue work with the Washington, D.C.-based Rural School and Community Trust and Arkansas’ Rural Community Alliance on building strategic partnerships. “My passion is strengthening small towns and rural education,” Funk said, “and I am grateful for the opportunity to support these causes at the national and regional levels.”
“I couldn’t be more optimistic about the future of our Foundation,” Funk noted. “Our staff is top-notch, our board dedicated, and I am personally elated with our leadership succession plan, which will be announced and celebrated prior to our May 19th board meeting.”
CFO Board Chairman Dr. Tom Prater noted the impact that Funk has had in his time with CFO.
“Gary’s positive impact on CFO will be felt for many, many years. His vision of building a regional philanthropic organization over a decade ago has been exceeded only by the actual success he’s achieved. CFO is making a difference in communities all across the Ozarks because of Gary’s commitment to philanthropy and community. We will miss his leadership immensely, but appreciate the solid foundation he’s built to carry on his work into the future.”
Funk is a 1980 graduate of Missouri State University and completed his doctoral work at Oklahoma State University in 1986. He spent 19 years in public and higher education before coming to CFO. He and his wife Jana have been married for 27 years, and they have a daughter, Megan, who attends Knox College in Illinois, and a son, Thomas, who will be a senior at Parkview High School next year.
PHOTO: Gary Funk (second from left) poses with David Pointer, chair-elect of the CFO board of directors, Julie Turner Brown, former CFO board chairman and Ron Ronds, former CFO board chairman.