Neighborhood Service Organization President Earns Leadership Award


DETROIT — The Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan has selected Sheilah P. Clay, president and CEO of Neighborhood Service Organization as the recipient of the 2014 Mariam C. Noland Award for Nonprofit Leadership. 

Named after the Community Foundation’s first and current president, this fourth annual award recognizes a nonprofit president or CEO in southeast Michigan whose service exemplifies the importance of nonprofit leadership, not only to his or her organization, but also to the wider nonprofit community.

Clay and her organization will receive a grant of $10,000 from the Community Foundation with the preference that the funds be used for executive leadership development opportunities.

“We are pleased to recognize Sheilah P. Clay for her exemplary nonprofit leadership,” said chair of the board of trustees of the Community Foundation, Allan D. Gilmour. “Under her direction, NSO provides critical mental health and human services to people in need and does so in innovative ways that have had an impact on the entire sector.”

Clay joined NSO in 1996 and has served as the president and CEO of the $31 million Detroit-based, nonprofit agency since 2000. Since its inception in 1955, NSO has reached out to those in Oakland and Wayne counties for whom conventional approaches have not been effective, pioneering new approaches in such areas as mental health, addiction treatment, suicide prevention, homelessness, early childhood education, youth leadership, and violence prevention.

One of Clay’s signature achievements was leading the $52 million renovation of the former historic Michigan Bell Building, transforming it into the NSO Bell Building, a permanent supportive housing facility for 155 formerly homeless adults. The building, which opened in 2012, also houses NSO corporate offices and is a part of the Focus: HOPE Village neighborhood revitalization effort.

Clay is immediate past president of the board of the Michigan Nonprofit Association and vice president of the Farmington Board of Education.  A graduate of Spelman College, Wayne State University College of Education and Leadership Detroit XXIV, Clay is a McGregor Fund Eugene Miller Fellow and member of the 2014 class of Leadership America, a national program of Leadership Women.