Leadership Shifts at Helps Education Fund
Position Organization for Impact
From Staff Reports
(June 1, 2023)
Helps Education Fund begins a new fiscal year with a strategic shift in leadership. Effective June 1, 2023, John Begeny, who founded the organization and has served as its Chief Executive Officer, will become the Principal Investigator/Independent Evaluator, NC State Project. William D. Gibson, who has served as the organization’s Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer since September, has been named President and Chief Executive Officer. This pivot in leadership is designed to position the organization to expand impact, as the organization continues to strategically align its resources and staff to better support community needs and fulfill its mission. With offices in Raleigh and Charlotte and program impact in nine counties, the organization plans to increase the support of students, adults, families, educators, and administrators in its home state of North Carolina.
A strategic priority for the organization will be to leverage current learnings and continue to strengthen existing relationships. This priority will ensure the organization’s ability to better serve a high percentage of students across the state who are economically disadvantaged and/or perform below adequate levels in core academic skills.
“We are entering into a new season for the organization and these leadership shifts will help us to respond strategically to the needs of students, communities, and schools, while also improving our efforts to cultivate meaningful results,” said Michael De Los Santos, Chairperson of the Board of Directors, Helps Education Fund. “Both Dr. Begeny and Dr. Gibson have done outstanding work to position the organization for its next chapter. Dr. Begeny’s focus on research and evaluation will continue to advance our evidence-based programs and services, while Dr. Gibson leads us through continued organizational readiness and strategy implementation,” continued De Los Santos.
Founded in 2010 by Begeny, along with a group of passionate volunteers, Helps Education Fund has expanded its programmatic focus beyond North Carolina. While engaged in the Research Triangle, Charlotte, Guilford County, and in the Eastern counties of Bladen, Cumberland, and Harnett, the organization’s programs can be found in all 50 states and in over 60 countries around the globe.
“Our reach has been far and wide, due to the fact that many of our programs are available for free download through the organization’s website,” said De Los Santos. “However, as we remain committed to supporting students and schools in our state, and our programs in New York City, one of our strategic priorities will be to expand our collaborative efforts across other counties in North Carolina and continue to build from there. This does not mean we will not consider other emerging needs or opportunities for partnership. We plan to prioritize students and families right here in our own backyard, leverage the success and further scale impact regionally in the coming years. Our board remains committed to this important focus ahead and to the organization’s vision and mission,” concluded De Los Santos.
Begeny served as the organization’s Executive Director from 2010 through 2015, then as the Director of Programs and Research until 2020. At that time, he returned as Executive Director a second time and led the organization through the Covid-19 pandemic and the first quarter of the 2022/2023 fiscal year. In September of 2022, when Gibson joined the organization, Begeny moved to the Chief Executive Officer role as a key collaborator to Gibson. He now turns his attention back to research and evaluation. Begeny also serves as a professor at the School of Psychology at North Carolina State University.
Gibson will take over leadership as the President and CEO for the organization, after having served as its Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer. Prior to joining Helps Education Fund, Gibson served as the Chief Strategy Officer and Managing Partner for Seattle-based Sustineri Group, Inc., a consulting firm that focuses on social change through social entrepreneurship and innovation. Prior to that, he served as an Executive Director for The United Methodist Church where he led a diverse team in the Pacific Northwest for almost eight years focused on social impact initiatives, programs, and ventures which spanned a 4-state region and included small parts of Canada. Gibson, a contextual problem solver and social entrepreneur with a passion for improving educational equity, brings more than 25 years of private and nonprofit executive leadership to his new role.
Begeny and Gibson begin their new roles on June 1, 2023.