Variety the Children’s Charity of Wisconsin names Nancy Major as CEO

Has overseen various area nonprofits in transition

Last updated on May 14th, 2019 at 05:49 am

Nancy Major

Variety the Children’s Charity of Wisconsin, an Elm Grove-based nonprofit organization that assists children with disabilities, has named Nancy Major as its new executive director and chief executive officer.

Variety the Children’s Charity of Wisconsin, which is the Wisconsin arm of a national organization, serves children age 21 and younger who have a diagnosed or demonstrated disability, including children with cerebral palsy, spina bifida, Rett syndrome, muscular dystrophy, Down syndrome, Angelman syndrome, epilepsy and amputees. Major said her commitment to advocating for disadvantaged and underserved children drew her to the role.

“I’m excited to explore how we can expand our partnerships with other service providers to maximize resources and help further our combined impact on behalf of the children and families we serve,” she said. “It’s an incredible honor and privilege to join the Variety family.”

Major has been at the helm of three area nonprofits while they have undergone mergers or ceased operations over the past decade.

Most recently, she was president and CEO of Daystar Inc., a Milwaukee nonprofit organization that provided housing for single women who were survivors of domestic violence. Major assumed leadership of the organization in January and it closed in June.

“Daystar served a maximum capacity of 10 women per year at an annual operating cost of more than $330,000,” Major said. “That was simply unsustainable and unwise considering the nonprofit landscape we’re facing today. The organization was originally staffed 100 percent by volunteers through the Sisters of Mercy Catholic order and struggled financially throughout its history.”

Previously, Major served as executive director of Stillwaters Cancer Support Center, a Waukesha-based nonprofit that provided counseling and support services to individuals affected by cancer. The organization closed in October 2017.

“Stillwaters was also originally staffed by its founder and other volunteers in a time long before cancer care included emotional and mental health support for the whole family,” Major said. “That organization did an amazing job of fulfilling its mission, but it outlived its relevancy and limited financial resources as more and more cancer care centers throughout the region began offering the exact same services as part of the care provided.”

Prior to that, Major was president and CEO of Waukesha-based Safe Babies Healthy Families from 2008 until it merged with Easterseals Southeast Wisconsin in 2016. Safe Babies Healthy Families was established from the merger of Healthy Families of Waukesha County and Pregnancy Support Connection for Safe Babies, which Major led from 2008 until 2016.

“With Safe Babies Healthy Families, the organization went through a huge evolution and grew beyond anyone’s wildest imagination,” Major said. “It was also a stand-alone nonprofit, not connected to any national group and struggled to keep up with the ever-increasing need for its services. It was limited by geography and relatively few available dollars through federal funding for prevention services. I realized in 2015 that Safe Babies Healthy Families could serve more young children and families who were in need if we were partnered with an organization that had a national platform. Easterseals of Southeast Wisconsin was an outstanding choice because of its ‘Make the First Five Count’ program, that focuses on the first five years of a child’s development and the evidence-based screening tools that help young families address those critical first years of their child’s milestones. I stayed on through the merger until our last official Safe Babies Healthy Families Fashion Show event that was held in February 2013 to assist in the transition. The merger not only advanced the mission and services it could offer, it maximized resources and built greater efficiencies.”

“To me, this is what it means to be a ‘good steward,'” Major said. “It would have been so much easier in every one of those cases (Daystar, Stillwaters and Safe Babies Healthy Families) to shrink into oblivion just to hold onto my own job, but that’s not why I’m here. I am here to serve and to work to achieve the greatest good.”

Variety the Children’s Charity touted Major’s leadership and management background, including her experience with operational restructuring, strategic planning, program development and sales and marketing.

“We’re exceptionally pleased that Nancy has taken on this leadership role,” said Piermario Bertolotto, chairman of Variety’s board. “Nancy’s broad knowledge of nonprofit management coupled with years of leadership experience and successful track record make her well positioned to lead us forward. Her business acumen, strategic expertise, and passion and commitment to our mission, will enable her to expand our programs and introduce innovative approaches to improving our outreach and impact.”

Sign up for BizTimes Daily Alerts

Stay up-to-date on the people, companies and issues that impact business in Milwaukee and Southeast Wisconsin

No posts to display