MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - A community pillar will be stepping down from his leadership role.
Michael Johnson announced his resignation as CEO of the Boys & Girls Club of Dane County (BGCDC) on Monday afternoon. He told NBC15 he will be will be moving into a new role as the head of the United Way of Greater Cincinnati after eight years leading the BGCDC.
"We went from having 18,000 donors to over 20,000 donors that support the work of Boys and Girls clubs," Johnson said.
BGCDC said during his time at the Club, Johnson inspired and empowered club members through academic and arts programs that helped them reach their full potential. His notable contributions include a college preparatory program that has produced graduation rates of over 90% for eight consecutive years.
“I have been honored to lead the Boys & Girls Club of Dane County over the past eight years and am so proud of the countless ways we have worked together to transform the lives of young people in our community,” Johnson said.
“On behalf of the entire community, I thank Michael for his unwavering dedication to the children and families of Dane County,” said Boys & Girls Club Board Chair Jenny Meicher Santek. “There is no doubt that the Club is well positioned to change the futures of even more young people thanks to Michael’s passionate work. His enthusiasm for our mission will continue to inspire us for many years to come.”
BGCDC said before he pursues a position with United Way of Greater Cincinnati in July 2018, Johnson will transition his role to interim President and CEO Rod Mitchell.
Mitchell brings more than 20 years of youth development, operations, and educational leadership experience to the role. He has served as the Club's executive vice president and COO for the past five years.
When asked about the Johnson's work in the community, Madison City Alder Barbara Mckinney said, "He was always at the table whether he was invited or had to push his way in."
Mckinney says Johnson focused on helping children but his outreach efforts made impacts on adults too.
After hurricane Harvey rocked Texas, Johnson raised hundreds thousands of dollars to bring 300,000 lbs of supplies to flood victims. He made the trip down himself, along with dozens of volunteers and a handful of semi trucks filled with the supplies.
"Michael will be dearly missed but we all will take into account of the legacy he has built," BGCDC Carl Kugler said.
Johson was also known for his efforts in trying to end gun violence in the community. He worked along several other city leaders in promoting more opportunities for teens so they don't resort to violence.
Johnson once said," What happens when they (teens) don't find opportunities -- opportunities from the streets find them. "
He lead many neighborhood events, such as: marches calling for unity, and barbecues for families.
"We had him for a while and we were blessed to have him," Mckinney said.
Johnson has never shied from speaking his mind. He held city leaders and politicians accountable. He fought for what he believed in and was an aggressive negotiator, McKinney said.
The BGCDCsaid the nationwide search is underway for a new president and CEO. Kugler told NBC15 the search for Johnson's replacement could take months.
The United Way of Greater Cincinnati is one of the largest non-profit organizations in the country. It serves ten counties across Ohio, Indiana, and Kentucky.
In reflection, Johnson said he couldn't have done it without the support from the volunteers and donors.
"How do you remember the statue of the man? You remember what he did for someone else. You remember the compassion, and the words that they said," Mckinney said.