Join The NonProfit Times: or Become a member

Subscribe: Print Publication or Newsletter

Stay connected.
Stay informed.

MDA Moves Executives To Chicago

By Patrick Sullivan - June 17, 2014

The Muscular Dystrophy Association’s (MDA) new Chicago headquarters is open for business. The organization’s former headquarters in Tucson, Ariz., has been renamed the Operations Center. The Chicago headquarters will house most of MDA’s top executives, including President and CEO Steven Derks, the chief development officer, chief marketing and communications officer and chief financial officer.

“We moved the national office because we wanted to be in a part of the country that was central,” said Roxann Olivas, vice president of public relations and community programs. “We wanted to be in a location where we had access to large corporations and businesses.” Chicago is a central hub, she said.

“On the research side,” she continued, “we do a lot of work with biotech companies based in Washington, D.C., New York and Boston. I can’t emphasize enough that we want to make sure we have a presence in some of the larger communities. Chicago serves as the central base but the plan is to get closer to constituents and expand our network and business that way.”

The majority of MDA’s national staff, between 80 and 90 employees, will remain in Tucson, said Olivas. By the end of the year, the Chicago headquarters will have from 30 to 40 employees, mostly upper management. The Operations Center will continue to house back-end departments such as accounting and human resources, as well as field operations, which support the 130 local MDA offices around the country.

Derks has been based out of Chicago since he joined the organization in 2012, said Olivas. “He was in Tucson often but anybody who was already in Chicago stayed there and waited things out. There’s been a lot of back and forth,” she said. Three other executives already worked from Chicago, and staffers from the Chicago district office will make headquarters their new home.

“It’s an adjustment,” said Olivas. “It’s been years where we were all based in Tucson, and it creates a different atmosphere. But people travel all the time now, and we’re all used to the new technology of conference calls and video conferencing.”

This isn’t the first large move MDA has undertaken. The 64-year-old organization moved its headquarters from New York City to Tucson in 1991. Olivas said that the first move was mostly a monetary consideration. “The state of Arizona and Tucson helped by donating some land giving us an opportunity to come here,” she said. “At the time they were in New York and leasing and it was getting expensive.”

The Chicago headquarters is also leased, in a space within the iconic Union Station, the third-busiest train terminal in the U.S, straddling the downtown neighborhoods of Greektown and the Loop. Olivas said she was not privy to the financial details of the move and could offer no comment.

Podcast_forHub_500x500

Sponsored Podcasts

Welcome to the Raise & Engage podcast, a filters-off series for nonprofit professionals hosted by Blackbaud's straight-shooting expert Danielle Johnson Vermenton. During this open-mic session, you’ll hear honest advice to help YOU do more for your cause.

Episode 6: The Power of ‘No’ at Work|| daniellejohnson-76

You have a job description, but on any given day, you're probably doing dozens of things outside the scope of that description. Combine that with the challenge of a fast-paced environment and the shifting priorities of funders, colleagues, and board members and it’s easy to fall short of doing your best. By being mindful of your limitations and capacity—and saying “no” when your plate is full—you can actually do more for your cause. In the sixth installment of the Raise and Engage podcast Danielle Johnson and Robin Anderson discuss the power of saying “no” at work.

Episode 5: Professional Development: Getting Un-Stuck|| daniellejohnson-76

In the most recent episode of Raise + Engage, Danielle is back with Brian Reich from little m media to discuss how nonprofit professionals can stay motivated and energized in their day-to-day roles. Brian shares his experience working with nonprofits and the lessons and tips he's learn from and shared with them over the years, including tips for avoiding a professional rut, creating forward momentum in your career and pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone. If you're considering making a career move or want to ensure you're on the right path, you won't want to miss this inspo-packed episode!

Episode 4: Apps and Hacks to Stay (Mostly) Sane || daniellejohnson-76

Episode 4: Apps and Hacks to Stay (Mostly) Sane, is all about tips, tricks and tools for sanity. Blackbaud’s own interactive product marketer, Julia Lenz, joins host Danielle Johnson to share some high tech. (and no tech.) productivity tips to help nonprofit professionals stay sane in the crazy world of philanthropy.

Tune in to hear:

  • Tips for how to spend the first 30 minutes of your day
  • The benefits of 15 minute meetings
  • Why notebooks are still relevant to a successful organization
  • Ideas for better managing your inbox
  • Why you should take lunch outside the box
  • ...and much more!
Don’t forget to visit the #NoFilterNonprofit Hub afterwards to download our newest tip sheet10 Productivity Hacks for Nonprofits.

Episode 3: Tech. Connection: Solutions, Strategy, and Staff || daniellejohnson-76

Episode 3: Tech. Connection: Solutions, Strategy, and Staff In episode 3 of the Raise + Engage podcast, Danielle Johnson is joined by Chris Geady and William DaSilva, two IT experts in the nonprofit space, to talk technology integration for NPOs: when you need it, when you don’t, and how to do it successfully.


Tune in to hear:

  • When to say NO to integration
  • How to set your strategic plan before even looking at technologies
  • Ways to get your entire team on board
  • The importance of identifying a project lead
  • The RFP process - how it should and should not go
And William shares a story about a nonprofit that may or may not have still been using a typewriter. You don't want to miss this one!

Episode 2: From Socially Awkward to Socially Awesome! || daniellejohnson-76

According to Danielle Johnson, straight-shooting host of the Raise + Engage podcast series, if your staff members aren’t the number one advocates for your cause on social media, you’re failing. In the most recent episode, Danielle is joined by Blackbaud’s own social media guru Madeline Turner to discuss overcoming social struggles and creating a social ambassador program at your organization. This entertaining and insightful duo dishes on the importance of making your social media presence human, making the case for a formal social program to leadership, how University of Michigan turned a one time social media campaign into a long term social program, and how Madeline's mom unknowingly became a social ambassador on #GivingTuesday.

Episode 1: Corporate Culture & Development: Shake It Up! || daniellejohnson-76

In the premiere episode of Raise & Engage, Danielle is joined by three straight-shooting nonprofit rock-stars: Jodi Smith of Sanford Health Systems, Veronica Brown of Chicago Public Library Foundation and Ali Burke of Southlake Regional Health Centre Foundation. The group talks organizational culture, problem employees, why its important to celebrate and how to shake things up this year and build a better more authentic team that gets stuff done!

Newsletters

Stay informed, catch latest trends in the nonprofit space.

Subscribe to Our Free Newsletter

No obligation, unsubscribe at anytime.

Success! Check your email inbox.

Follow Us On Twitter

NPT 2016 Buyers' Guide

Newsletter Sign-up



click here to return to the previous page