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Community foundation exec leaves nonprofit to run another organization

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  • | 5:15 p.m. June 29, 2023
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Veronica Thames was chosen to lead the nonprofit after a six month search.
Veronica Thames was chosen to lead the nonprofit after a six month search.
Courtesy photo
  • Manatee-Sarasota
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Veronica Thames, a senior-level executive with the Gulf Coast Community Foundation in Venice, is moving on to a new top leadership role with another foundation. 

Thames has been named executive director for the Manatee Community Foundation, according to a statement. She replaces another prominent foundation executive, Susie Bowie, who left the Manatee Community Foundation in March when she was named president and CEO of the William G. and Marie Selby Foundation in Sarasota. Bowie had overseen MCF for nearly seven years. 

Thames comes to MCF with experience as a senior vice president and COO at Gulf Coast, where she played a key part in expanding the foundation’s operations, including the opening of the Sarasota Philanthropy Center, according to a statement. Longtime Gulf Coast Community Foundation CEO Mark Pritchett retired earlier this year; the organization's new CEO, Phillip Lanham, who had been chief philanthropy officer at the Greater Cincinnati Foundation, started June 1.

The Manatee Community Foundation, based in Bradenton and celebrating its 25th year anniversary this year, had $13.31 million in revenue in fiscal 2021, according to public tax filings. It has awarded over $50 million in grants and scholarships since it was founded.

“I am grateful for the opportunity to be a driver of positive impact in my own backyard and around so many of my community friends,” Thames says in the release. “Manatee is experiencing unprecedented growth, which exacerbates its needs. I hope to open doors to collaboration that must exist between philanthropists, government officials, community and nonprofit partners, and county residents, so we can create a better tomorrow, today.” 

Thames also has experience managing the 1,300 employees at Blake Medical Center Health Care Corporation of America in Bradenton, as the vice president of human resources. She currently serves on the Bradenton Area Economic Development Corp. and Saint Stephen’s Episcopal School Parents Association boards. Thames is also the current HCA Florida Sarasota Doctors Hospital board chair. 

“Veronica’s entrepreneurial, fresh and strategic perspective will propel our organization forward,” Board Chair Robert “Buzz” Turner says. “Her commitment and passion have been influenced by her experience and we look forward to her contributions as a trusted ambassador, all for the benefit of the community we are proud to serve.” 


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