Adrien O. Wilson will be the new chief executive officer (CEO) of Public Allies, replacing the departing founder Paul Schmitz. Wilson will begin his tenure as CEO on September 8th and will work from the organization’s Washington, D.C. offices.
Wilson joins the Milwaukee, Wisc.-based Public Allies after serving as the Gulf Coast Regional Director for Single Stop USA. He is a native of rural Louisiana and has previously served as the state’s Assistant Secretary of Family Support which provided services to families in need, including in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. In a press release announcing the appointment, Wilson said he plans to use that experience, as well as his childhood with a single mother, in his new role at Public Allies.
“I understand the importance of the American dream, the hope it affords every citizen, and the critical need for leadership and advocacy to make its promise a reality for all,” said Wilson. “I am honored and excited to lead Public Allies in its mission of preparing a new generation of leaders for social change.”
Schmitz, who was recognized in The NonProfit Times’ Power and Influence Top 50 in 2010, 2012, and 2013, announced in November that he would be leaving Public Allies after founding the organization in 1993. He has spent a total of 14 years as CEO of the organization.
“Adrien’s story is emblematic of our belief that everyone leads, and he will be a powerful leader and advocate for Public Allies’ mission and values,” said Schmitz.
Though he will be stepping down as CEO, Schmitz will remain with Public Allies through December to serve as an advisor to Wilson as he makes his transition.
Public Allies’ mission is to advance new leaders to strengthen communities, nonprofits, and civic participation. Its signature AmeriCorps program recruits diverse young adults with a passion to make a difference and provides them paid, full-time, nonprofit apprenticeships and rigorous leadership development to turn that passion into a career working for community and social change. Over 5,600 people – more than two-thirds people of color – have completed the program, and over 85 percent have continued careers in the nonprofit and public sectors. Though headquartered in Milwaukee, the organization operates in 23 communities around the country.