Karen Mathis Leaving Big Brothers Big Sisters of America

Note: This story was updated on Dec. 1 with more up-to-date information on the organization’s finances.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of America CEO Karen Mathis is resigning after two-and-a-half years on the job.

Mathis, a lawyer and former president of the American Bar Association, took the helm at Philadelphia-based BBBSA in June of 2009. She succeeded Judy Vredenburgh, who led the organization for 11 years.

“It is with the utmost regard for our organization that I announce my departure from Big Brothers Big Sisters of America,” Mathis wrote in a letter to employees on Nov. 21. “It has been a tremendous honor to work with this world class organization.”

Mathis intends to step down on Dec. 23. Chief Administrative Officer Max Miller and Chief Operating Officer Mack Koonce will lead the organization as a “transition team” when Mathis steps down, according to Koonce.

BBBSA spokeswomen Kelly Williams said she did not know if Mathis was leaving for another job.

BBBSA took in $81 million between 2008 and 2010, according to financial figures provided by the organization. Mathis stepped in during the fall of 2009, a year in which revenue was down from $32.7 million in 2008 to $18.3 million, and the organization’s asset reserved dipped from $24 million to $19.2 million.

Things picked up in 2010 as BBBSA secured the first of two federal grants, totaling $21.3 million, from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention to conduct mentoring programs for juvenile offenders. Revenue climbed back to $30 million in 2010.

Mathis has been a partner of McElroy, Deutsch, Mulvaney and Carpenter, a multi-state diversified law firm based in Morristown, N.J., with 230 practicing attorneys. She has extensive experience in partnering with the U.S. Departments of Education and Justice and has addressed multi-national audiences.  She has worked with all five branches of the U.S. military and lobbied successfully on behalf of service men and women.


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