Michele Mackey. Photo supplied.

The Kids Forward board of directors announced on Monday that Michele Mackey has been named the new CEO of its statewide policy and advocacy organization.

“I am excited and honored to continue leading Kids Forward into its future as a truly equity-driven organization. My vision for Kids Forward is to work in solidarity with our many communities across Wisconsin to identify, dismantle, and rebuild the systems keeping us all – especially children and families – from thriving, from experiencing justice, and from belonging,” Mackey said in a statement. “At Kids Forward, we are all dedicated leaders in the fight for racial and economic justice. We must do this for a better Wisconsin. I am looking forward to joining forces with current and future ‘friends in the work’ across the state and country.”

Mackey brings a deep and diverse leadership background to this position as an attorney, program and operations officer, and innovation and change consultant, focused on leadership development and equitable organizational strategy, according to a press release from Kids Forward. As COO at Kids Forward, they have led the alignment of internal culture with the organization’s equity-focused policy advocacy. Mackey also recently served as loaned interim CEO for Forward Community Investments advising its transition from a founder CEO.

Mackey succeeds Ken Taylor, who served in the position for 11 years and has co-led the organization with Mackey since 2017.

“Michele, along with other members of our Leadership Team, are already leading Kids Forward, and this transition is just the next step in that progression,” Taylor said in a press release. “Those of you who know Michele, know that they are a fierce champion for racial justice and anti-racist at their core. They will be the leader Kids Forward needs during this lattice of crises we are facing, in racial justice, in health, in the economy, and in our democracy.

“Those of you who don’t yet know Michele will quickly come to realize that they are the leader Kids Forward needs now, not just because of their racial justice expertise, passion, and lived experience, but also their expertise in systems and organizational change as well as research and advocacy. I am very excited about the future of Kids Forward under Michele’s leadership”.

Kids Forward is a statewide policy and advocacy organization working for ALL of Wisconsin and “envisioning a state where every kid thrives, especially children of color and those furthest from opportunity. Because policy matters, now more than ever.”

“Our board members are grateful to Ken for his leadership developing Kids Forward’s commitment to center racial equity in who we are as well as in all our work. We’re 100% supportive of this ‘baton-pass’ to Michele’s leadership and are committed to our role in this needed work,” said Kids Forward Board Chair Jacquelyn Boggess.