The McGaw YMCA board has named Mark A. Dennis Jr. the Evanston group's new CEO and president.
Dennis has served as senior pastor of Evanston's Second Baptist Church for the past 10 years.
“Mark is a seasoned, skilled and compassionate, visionary leader," McGaw board chair Dan Israelite said in a statement. “We are confident that he will greatly advance the McGaw YMCA’s mission of strengthening the foundation of the Evanston community through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility.”
Israelite says the board hired an executive search firm, reviewed more than 80 applications and interviewed a number of very strong finalists before selecting Dennis.
Dennis has worked with the Y on initiatives including Project SOAR; Pioneering Healthy Communities; and Evanston Cradle to Career.
Dennis formerly served as president of The Alford Group, a national consulting firm based in Evanston serving the not-for-profit community and as associate dean for institutional advancement at the Howard University School of Divinity.
He holds degrees from Howard, from Bowling Green State University and from Morehouse College, and has completed coursework leading to a doctorate in professional/staff development at the University of Maryland.
Dennis has four adult children and five grandchildren.
Dennis will succeed Bill Geiger, who has been the McGaw Y's president for more than 10 years.
Geiger submitted his resignation to the board 18 months ago but, at the board’s request, agreed to stay to support enhanced community collaboration efforts and until a replacement was found.
Dennis plans to transition to his new position over the remainder of the year to support smooth leadership changes at both the Y and Second Baptist.