Susan Dreyfus Leaving Alliance for Strong Families and Communities in 2020

Susan Dreyfus, CEO for Alliance for Strong Families and Communities, will step down in 2020, the organization announced this week.

“I’ve been talking with the board about this transition for much of the year,” Dreyfus said in a press release. “With my husband [Judge Lee S. Dreyfus] winding down his 30-year career as a circuit court judge in Wisconsin, this is a good time to make a pivot in my career as well.”

Dreyfus said she does not plan to retire and instead will begin working as a consultant in the health and human services field.

The Alliance represents several hundred members in the field of youth and family services. Dreyfus, after a six-year run leading the Wisconsin Division of Children and Families, served as the organization’s chief operating officer under longtime Alliance CEO Peter Goldberg from 2002 to 2007.

Dreyfus left to lead the Washington Department of Social and Health Services under former Gov. Chris Gregoire. When the Alliance’s Goldberg died of a heart attack in 2011, Dreyfus was tapped to succeed him.

Jerry Milner, head of the Children’s Bureau at the Department of Health and Human Services, discusses the Family First Prevention Services Act with Dreyfus and other Alliance leaders. Photo courtesy of the Alliance.

“She has accelerated the Alliance’s reach and influence nationally by charting a path that is instrumental in helping those organizations achieve greater financial sustainability and continue to fulfill their essential and vital role in helping all Americans achieve their fullest potential,” said Molly Greenman, Alliance board chair, in a press release.

Under Dreyfus, the organization restructured and consolidated several divisions around the united brand Alliance for Strong Families and Communities, and announced it would establish a headquarters in Washington, D.C. The Alliance staffed up in the nation’s capital, where they had mostly maintained a modest policy shop.

Last year, Dreyfus let the staff D.C. office go over the summer, and the Alliance has reorganized its policy advocacy efforts around a team of subject matter experts.

During her tenure, Dreyfus has used her position to draw attention to how the shifting fiscal environment is affecting nonprofits. Dreyfus is among the coordinators of Leadership 18, a collective pushing for better tax incentives for middle- and low-income donors. In 2018, the Alliance issued “A National Imperative,” a report highlighting the thin operating margins and lowball government contracts that plague many of the nation’s nonprofits.

Dreyfus also served on the National Commission to Eliminate Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities – a congressionally mandated body tasked with making recommendations on how best to prevent such deaths – from 2013 to 2015.

The Alliance board is in the process of retaining an executive search firm. The search committee will be led by the board’s vice president, Annette Rodriguez, who is the CEO of The Children’s Shelter in San Antonio, Texas.

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John Kelly, Editor in Chief, The Chronicle of Social Change
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