Detroit-Based Focus: HOPE Names Vernice Davis Anthony as Interim CEO

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Focus: HOPE, a Detroit-based civil and human rights organization, today named Vernice (Vern) Davis Anthony as its interim CEO, effective Monday.

Anthony, a longtime Focus: HOPE board member and president and CEO of the Greater Detroit Area Health Council, will take the reins from Jason D. Lee, who joined Detroit Employment Solutions Corp. as the executive director of Grow Detroit’s Young Talent program.

“We wish Jason well on his new endeavor and look forward to continuing our collaboration with him, DESC, and the city of Detroit,” says Jay Craig, Focus: HOPE board chair and CEO and president of Meritor Inc. in Troy. “We are taking the necessary steps to create a financially sound and programmatically relevant organization. These steps require strong and decisive leadership. Vern is a well-established leader within the Metro Detroit community and cares passionately about our mission. She shares our organization’s values and is committed to our legacy.

Anthony says she is excited about her new role.

“I am pleased to be able to offer my leadership and CEO on an interim basis,” she says. “I am very excited about the future of Focus: HOPE, and (I) thank Jason for his leadership and bringing us to this juncture. Our recent strategic thinking has placed us in a strong position to make an even greater impact in our community, consistent with our mission.”

Anthony served as the health officer at three levels of government, city, county, and state. In the nonprofit arena, she held positions including senior vice president for urban health at Ascension Health (formerly St John Health), and CEO of the Greater Detroit Health Council. She has also held several high-level board appointments including Wayne State University Board of Governors, Western Michigan University Board Chair, and Chair of the Detroit Wayne County Airport Authority. She also serves on several boards including the Board of the Congregation of St. Joseph Foundation.

She has been recognized and presented Distinguished Alumni Awards from both Wayne State University and University of Michigan, School of Public Health, the Michigan Women’s Foundation Humanitarian Award, and the Alternative for Girls Role Model Award.

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