Silver Spring Neighborhood Center names new executive director

Devin Hudson will succeed Tom Ellis

Silver Spring Neighborhood Center has named Devin Hudson, who has led the agency’s development efforts for the past five years, as its next executive director.

Devin Hudson

Hudson has been development director for the center, located in the Westlawn neighborhood on Milwaukee’s northwest side, since 2014.

She succeeds Tom Ellis, a former M&I Bank president who came out of retirement in 2016 to lead the agency.

Marvin Bynum, president of SSNC’s board of directors, said Hudson was chosen from a search process that included interviews with both internal and external candidates.

“We love her even-keeled judgement,” Bynum said. “She has a clear-eyed vision for how things should work at the agency and how to deal with the stressful and challenging situations we encounter as an organization and as a community.”

Bynum said Hudson’s work in development has put her on the “front lines” of each of the center’s services, which include child care, afterschool programs, meal programs, adult education and employment programs.

“She understands the dollars that come in and where they go,” Bynum said. “She understands the goals and aims of our programs. She understands what they need and who they serve and how they’re serving people.”

Under Hudson’s leadership, the organization brought in 146 first-time donors, netting contributions of more than $160,000, from 2016 to 2018. In 2016, she helped secure a gift from the Milwaukee Bucks and Johnson Controls, which included the new Silver Spring Neighborhood Center/Browning School multi-sport complex and financial investments in youth programming.

Hudson coordinated the agency’s submissions for the 2017 MANDIs, during which SSNC received the BMO Harris Bank Cornerstone Award and the Wells Fargo People’s Choice Award. She also helped secure $150,000 in 2018 for SSNC’s new Opportunity Youth program.

The organization has undergone multiple leadership transitions in recent years. Anthony McHenry served as executive director from 2013 until he left to lead the Milwaukee Academy of Science in 2016.

Ellis, who previously spent 23 years of his career at M&I Bank, succeeded him. In finding his replacement, the board was intent on looking inside the organization for potential candidates, Bynum said.

“We’ve got really great people who are passionate, who deeply care about the work, are smart and are generous with their time,” he said. “This is a tough job, but we’ve had a really good staff supporting the mission. We thought we’d be remiss if we didn’t at least have them at the table.”

Today’s difficult nonprofit funding landscape, with fewer dollars being stretched across more organizations, presents a challenge for the organization moving forward, Bynum said.

“We have to be cognizant of that challenge and be smart about being creative and innovative with our programs and leverage partnerships with those who can sometimes do it better than we can,” he said. “We’ve tried to position ourselves as a hub, versus a program provider in some cases.”

Meanwhile, the neighborhood itself is undergoing shifts. Westlawn Gardens is in the middle of a redevelopment project that will add units to the public housing community. That could mean the center will have new neighbors who aren’t as familiar with its programs.

“The challenge is to be more relevant to our neighbors make sure they know about what we’re doing and then execute and deliver on those programs,” Bynum said.

Silver Spring Neighborhood Center has named Devin Hudson, who has led the agency’s development efforts for the past five years, as its next executive director.

Devin Hudson

Hudson has been development director for the center, located in the Westlawn neighborhood on Milwaukee’s northwest side, since 2014.

She succeeds Tom Ellis, a former M&I Bank president who came out of retirement in 2016 to lead the agency.

Marvin Bynum, president of SSNC’s board of directors, said Hudson was chosen from a search process that included interviews with both internal and external candidates.

“We love her even-keeled judgement,” Bynum said. “She has a clear-eyed vision for how things should work at the agency and how to deal with the stressful and challenging situations we encounter as an organization and as a community.”

Bynum said Hudson’s work in development has put her on the “front lines” of each of the center’s services, which include child care, afterschool programs, meal programs, adult education and employment programs.

“She understands the dollars that come in and where they go,” Bynum said. “She understands the goals and aims of our programs. She understands what they need and who they serve and how they’re serving people.”

Under Hudson’s leadership, the organization brought in 146 first-time donors, netting contributions of more than $160,000, from 2016 to 2018. In 2016, she helped secure a gift from the Milwaukee Bucks and Johnson Controls, which included the new Silver Spring Neighborhood Center/Browning School multi-sport complex and financial investments in youth programming.

Hudson coordinated the agency’s submissions for the 2017 MANDIs, during which SSNC received the BMO Harris Bank Cornerstone Award and the Wells Fargo People’s Choice Award. She also helped secure $150,000 in 2018 for SSNC’s new Opportunity Youth program.

The organization has undergone multiple leadership transitions in recent years. Anthony McHenry served as executive director from 2013 until he left to lead the Milwaukee Academy of Science in 2016.

Ellis, who previously spent 23 years of his career at M&I Bank, succeeded him. In finding his replacement, the board was intent on looking inside the organization for potential candidates, Bynum said.

“We’ve got really great people who are passionate, who deeply care about the work, are smart and are generous with their time,” he said. “This is a tough job, but we’ve had a really good staff supporting the mission. We thought we’d be remiss if we didn’t at least have them at the table.”

Today’s difficult nonprofit funding landscape, with fewer dollars being stretched across more organizations, presents a challenge for the organization moving forward, Bynum said.

“We have to be cognizant of that challenge and be smart about being creative and innovative with our programs and leverage partnerships with those who can sometimes do it better than we can,” he said. “We’ve tried to position ourselves as a hub, versus a program provider in some cases.”

Meanwhile, the neighborhood itself is undergoing shifts. Westlawn Gardens is in the middle of a redevelopment project that will add units to the public housing community. That could mean the center will have new neighbors who aren’t as familiar with its programs.

“The challenge is to be more relevant to our neighbors make sure they know about what we’re doing and then execute and deliver on those programs,” Bynum said.

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