NAACP president and CEO, Ben Jealous, was on the Tom Joyner Morning show this morning to explain his reason for stepping down from the post he's held for five years at the historic organization. He explained that his decision centered around a promise he made to his then three year old daughter about getting her father back within a five year timeframe.
Jealous discussed how the work predicates everything he does and it was taking a toll on him and his family. So after holding his promise to elevate the organization he felt now was the time to keep his promise to his daughter.
Here is how USA Today is reporting the story:
The man who has become the face of the NAACP — from marches protesting the death of Florida teen Trayvon Martin to vigils for death row inmate Troy Davis in Georgia — is resigning effective Dec. 31.
In an interview with USA TODAY, Benjamin Todd Jealous said the constant travel as president and CEO of the nation's largest civil rights organization has kept him away too much from his wife, civil rights lawyer Lia Epperson, and children, daughter Morgan, 7, and Jack, 13 months. He said he plans to make a formal announcement to his staff Monday morning.
"Leadership knows when to step up and when to step down," Jealous said. "This day I can say with pride that I'm prepared to step down and make room for the next person who will lead this organization to its next chapter."
Jealous, 40, said he is talking to a handful of schools within commuting distance of metropolitan Washington about teaching. He plans to continue work with civil rights colleagues toward raising money for a fund to promote black participation in politics. In a separate interview with USA TODAY columnist DeWayne Wickham, Jealous detailed plans to create an "EMILY's list for people of color."
The civil rights leader said he's satisfied that he will leave an organization in much better condition than it was when he took over five years ago. Back then, the Baltimore-based civil rights group was financially shaky and shouldering constant criticism that its aging leadership was out of touch. Now, the organization is solvent, social media savvy and its staff seems to be part of a new cadre of leaders — headed by President Obama — who are diverse, well-educated and visible.
"In the last five years, we've had double-digit revenue growth, we've spent five years in the black," Jealous said.
Under Jealous, the donor base has grown from 16,422 in 2007, just before he started, to 132,543 last year. Revenue has grown from $25.7 million in 2008 to $46 million in 2012. Out of a total score of 70, independent non-profit reviewing organization Charity Navigator gives the NAACP 51.42 for finances and 70 for accountability and transparency.
When Jealous came in at age 35, he was hailed as the youngest leader of the organization in its history, although some questioned whether he was old enough to serve, and the board vote approving him was close. As a lifelong activist, he was known in the civil rights community but not by the general public. Over the years, he changed that, appearing in public constantly, often alongside other civil rights leaders. If there was a major regional or national civil rights event, Jealous was often there with rolled-up sleeves.