Nonprofit veteran Davida Morgan Washington has been named President of the organization effective June 1, 2020. She succeeds Interim President Elyse Klova (Chief Operating Officer for Blaze Leadership) who also led Ferst Readers’ executive search.
As the Ferst Readers’ new president, Washington will lead the organization through a particularly challenging time for children across the country who have not been in childcare centers or classrooms for months and face uncertainty for the fall.
“During a time when families are together at home and caregivers are hungry for resources and guidance, we have an opportunity for Ferst to make a particularly strong impact,” said Board Chair Errika Moore, “For about 20 years, we’ve been in close partnership with the Georgia early education community and have given children more than five million quality, age-appropriate children’s books. We're ready to do more and are excited to see how we continue to evolve under Davida's leadership.”
That evolution begins with mobilizing Ferst Readers’ multi-state network of community volunteers, staff, and partners and guiding the organization through its next strategic planning process. Ferst Readers strengthens communities by providing quality books and literacy resources for children and their families to use at home during the earliest stages of development. With many early childcare centers and libraries shuttered throughout the State of Georgia and beyond, these resources are more important than ever.
“It’s a privilege to be selected to lead this organization strategically and collaboratively,” said Washington. “I find it motivating that the work we do each day assures that children enter school on their first day prepared and confident in their ability to learn.”
For almost 10 years Washington has helmed fundraising operations for some of Georgia’s most recognized nonprofits, including the American Heart Association, the national office of the Lewy Body Dementia Association, Communities In Schools of Georgia and, most recently, the YMCA of Metropolitan Atlanta where she served as Regional Director of Development and Planned Giving. She also led HealthSTAT, a health advocacy organization in collaboration with Emory University, Morehouse College School of Medicine, Mercer School of Medicine and the Georgia State Legislature. As Executive Director, she guided HealthSTAT in strategic planning, budget management, advocacy/education and development. She began her career as an administrator and instructor for her alma mater, Shorter University.
Davida Morgan Washington received her undergraduate degree in public relations and business administration from Shorter University and a Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree in nonprofit management from the University of Jacksonville. She is a 2012-2013 Fellow of Georgia Women's Policy Leadership Institute.
“The Search Committee was looking for a president who would build on our established relationships and success and help the organization grow. We are confident Davida’s previous professional experience, her ideas on how to take Ferst to the next level, and her positive energy make her the ideal president,” said Board Member and Search Committee Chair Lauri Strauss.
Washington’s appointment culminates a six-month national search that netted more than 300 potential candidates. The Ferst Readers Board of Directors search committee worked with Blaze, a change management and leadership development firm based in Atlanta.