Senate Confirms New CNCS Executive

Ending several years of turnover at the Corporation for National and Community (CNCS), the U.S. Senate yesterday confirmed Wendy Spencer as the agency’s next chief executive officer. She is scheduled to begin her new position on April 9.

Spencer, who was nominated by President Barack Obama last October, will become at least the fourth CEO or acting CEO at the federal agency in just a few years. CNCS has not had a CEO serve longer than 15 months since David Eisner stepped down in November 2008 after five years leading the corporation.

Spencer has been CEO of the Florida Governor’s Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service (Volunteer Florida) since 2003. She was responsible for managing federal and state grants, setting policy and program priorities, providing training and monitoring, coordinating volunteers and donations in times of disaster, and promoting service and volunteering across the state.

“As a leader, Wendy is known for uniting diverse groups and organizations to work on common goals,” said Laysha Ward, chair of the CNCS Board of Directors. “Wendy has the experience and reputation to drive the CNCS mission to help solve local problems, support vulnerable citizens, and strengthen communities throughout the United States.”

Robert Velasco has been serving as interim CEO since May, after Patrick Corvington resigned to become senior vice president for volunteer and institutional engagement at Habitat for Humanity International in Atlanta, Ga. Corvington left CNCS after just 15 months; he was appointed and confirmed after the president’s first nominee, Nike Foundation President Maria Eitel, withdrew in May 2010 due to undisclosed health reasons. Nicola Goren had been serving as acting CEO until Corvington’s confirmation.

Spencer was appointed by President George W. Bush to the President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation in 2006, along with 24 leading advocates for volunteer service across America. She received the Governor’s Award at the 2005 Florida Governor’s Hurricane Conference for her leadership in response and recovery work due to the record setting disasters throughout the state the previous year. This past year, she was elected to serve as chair of the American Association of State Service Commissions.

Spencer previously served as director of the Florida Park Service, where she oversaw natural resource and recreation management for Florida’s 158 state parks, managed by 1,600 staff and supported by 5,000 volunteers and 80 citizen support organizations. She also was campaign director of the United Way of the Big Bend and director of marketing for the Macon County, Georgia, Chamber of Commerce, among other positions.