MADISON -- Brian Cain, president of Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Madison, announced that Jackson Fonder has been named the new executive vice president of Catholic Charities, effective March 5.
Fonder comes to Catholic Charities from Middleton Outreach Ministry (MOM), where he has been executive director since 2010.
Cain commented on Fonder’s new position, “This is an additional position on our senior management team created to assist me in the management of the continued growth and development of the organization and our expansion into other areas of service.
“Initially, Jackson will be working in some specific areas including: the ongoing management and new directions we are taking with our All Saints Neighborhood; the development and roll-out of new strategies proposed for Hope Haven; oversight and development of new initiatives in marketing and resource development; and assessing the potential need for realignment of some parts of our support staff.
“Throughout 2012, he will be learning about our operations through a combination of visiting with staff in all our programs and participating in selected special projects that will give him a well-rounded perspective of what we do and our organizational culture,” said Cain.
Fonder’s background includes significant leadership roles in non-profit organizations, financial services, and government service. He has been an active community leader in the greater Madison area as well as in Phoenix, Ariz., where he and his family resided before returning to Wisconsin.
In an interview, Fonder said it is “an honor and a privilege” to be working with Catholic Charities. “I’ve had a chance to meet some of the board members, staff, and volunteers. There are some really engaged, talented people who are doing great things, and I want to be part of that. I’m very excited.”
Fonder has worked for the past two years with Middleton Outreach Ministry, a partnership of about a dozen churches in West Madison and Middleton founded in 1980. The churches are “the eyes and ears in the community” in helping those in need, he said. “It’s a great organization.”
Third chapter of his life
Fonder explained that he is in the “third chapter” of his life.
He spent 22 years in the Air Force, 10 in active duty and 12 in the Air National Guard. This experience provided an opportunity for world-wide travel and even a stint in the White House.
After retiring from the Air Force, he worked in the corporate world in financial services for 16 years in Texas and Arizona.
“In my corporate role, I was involved with nonprofit boards of directors and projects in Phoenix. The more I did it, the more I liked it,” he said of his involvement with nonprofits. “I began to think of it as my calling.”
He contacted an executive recruiter and opportunities started to come his way, many in the Midwest. “The next thing I knew we were in Wisconsin. MOM was a perfect fit. It needed leadership and innovation and we were able to make a complete turn-around.”
Returning to Wisconsin
Since Fonder is a native of Green Bay, he was happy to return to his home state. He comes from a strong Catholic family. He has two uncles who are priests and another uncle who is a Brother.
He and his wife of 20 years, Kathleen, are members of St. Peter Parish in Ashton. They have three children and enjoy volunteering at the St. Peter fish fries as a family.
Fonder is looking forward to working with Catholic Charities, especially in helping the agency tell its story by communicating all the good work being done.