McGaw YMCA President and Chief Executive Officer Mark A. Dennis, Jr. says he will retire after Thanksgiving. And the YMCA board has named Chief Operating Officer Monique Parsons initerim president.

Dennis has led the McGaw Y since April 2014. In a letter to staff, he said, “The time has come for new leadership to work toward harvesting the fruit of McGaw’s future, and for me to begin the retirement chapter of servant-leadership with my beloved family.”

“Mark has served McGaw with dedication and passion and he will be truly missed,” said Board Chair Pat Maunsell. “We wish him all the best as he moves into this next chapter of his life.”

Before leading the Y, Dennis served as senior pastor of Second Baptist Church in Evanston.

Monique Parsons, at the dedication of the MetaMedia lab.

Maunsell said Parsons, who has worked at the Y for 12 years, “is an amazing leader who is deeply dedicated to our vision.”

Parsons started at McGaw as vice president of programs, handling youth and leadership initiatives and program development. Later she expanded her focus to building strategic community collaborations and transforming membership.

Pat Maunsell.

Maunsell said the board hopes to name a permanent replacement for Dennis by early next year.

The 132-year-old non-profit operates a comprehensive Wellness Center with two pools and drop-in childcare space, the MetaMedia digital lab center for youth, and a men’s residence in its headquarters at 1000 Grove St..

It also offers programs and services at The Children’s Center, 1420 Maple Ave., the Family Focus Center, 2010 Dewey Ave., and Camp Echo in Fremont, Michigan. It has 12,000 members and serves an estimated 20,000 people in the community each year.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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