The Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Minnesota’s Board of Directors is pleased to announce that Mary Swingle has accepted the position of President/CEO. She will begin her new role at the Boys & Girls Club starting September 24, 2018.
The Board of Directors began a search process for a new President/CEO this spring upon Mark Sakry’s announcement to retire in October. They engaged CohenTaylor as the search firm to seek an inspirational and visionary leader with an authentic passion for children and families; understanding each child’s full potential as a productive, caring, and responsible citizen. Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Minnesota found their next President & CEO in Mary Swingle, a proven executive-level leader experienced in developing highly functional teams and leading organizational growth, with a strong commitment to community service.
“It is a privilege to be selected as Boys & Girls Club’s new President & CEO,” said Swingle. “I am honored to follow Mark Sakry, knowing his incredible leadership qualities. I’m looking forward to joining this amazing organization to have an impact on our youth and community.”
“Please join us in welcoming Mary Swingle to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Minnesota community,” said Curt Gainsforth, Boys & Girls Club’s Board Chair.
As the spokesperson for the Boys & Girls Club’s Board of Directors and staff, Gainsforth expressed the organization’s eternal gratitude for the legacy that Sakry has provided through 38 years of service leadership. “Mark Sakry’s leadership has made a profound impact in the lives of countless youth,” said Gainsforth. “His mission-driven spirit has enabled the Boys & Girls Club to be at the forefront of the most pressing needs of our community’s young people. Now, we are excited to see how Mary Swingle’s innovative and relational leadership style will contribute to the continued growth and success of the organization, and thus the success of the next generation.”
About Mary Swingle
Swingle’s career is a testament to her deep commitment to enriching young people and community at all levels. Spending the first ten years of her career as a teacher in business education, she facilitated opportunities that connected the community to its children and for their benefit; acting as a mentor and leader for a variety of school programs. She then served as the assistant director for BlueSky Online 7-12 School, before moving on to college level education administration. She served first as academic dean, then as campus director for Rasmussen College. Swingle managed programming and operations for campuses in St. Cloud and Bismarck. She will leave her role as Campus Director for the St. Cloud campus to assume leadership for Boys & Girls Club of Central Minnesota.
Swingle has been invested in community work for many years; volunteering her talents and time to give back to the greater St. Cloud area, in particular. As part of her work with Greater St. Cloud Development Corporation, Swingle has creatively co-chaired their Talent Summit for the past four years, a community summit hosting over 500 business and community members including training sessions, networking, and a career/volunteer fair. As a board member with Tanners Team Foundation, a foundation founded to help families with children fighting a life-threatening illness or serious injury, Swingle has supported a variety of fundraising activities. Swingle has been a very active member of the Business Development Council within the St. Cloud Chamber of Commerce including terms as Vice Chair and Chair. In addition, Swingle has co-chaired the Educate and Engage the Community committee for the Partnership for Student Success. She has also been a member of the St. Cloud Noon Optimist Club.
Swingle holds a bachelor’s degree from University of Wisconsin-Superior, a Master’s in Education from the University of Wisconsin- LaCrosse and earned her Graduate Certificate in Education Administration: K-12 Principal from Saint Mary’s University.
Mark Sakry’s Legacy to the Boys & Girls Club
Sakry has given his heart and soul to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Minnesota for more than 38 years. He started at the Club in 1979 as a volunteer. He was hired as the executive director on July 9, 1979. From 1984 – 1991, he left to work as the recreation superintendent for St. Cloud Parks & Recreation, and joined the Board of Directors for the Boys & Girls Club during that time. In 1991, Sakry returned to the Club to work as associate director, and in 1993, he was hired as the executive director.
By the end of 1994, the Club had successfully completed a capital campaign and the construction of our first new Boys & Girls Club facility – the Roosevelt Club. Donated park land, collaborative partners and access to Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) led to the construction of this $800,000 facility. The Roosevelt Club, Head Start classrooms, and the Club’s administrative offices opened with a ribbon cutting ceremony on December 15, 1994.
In 1995, after a shooting occurred in Southside Park, an outreach program was launched at the La Cruz apartments, and Sakry, along with the board and staff, began plans for the construction of the Southside Boys & Girls Club. It took a few years and a lot of fundraising, but on January 30, 2001, the Club celebrated the opening of the $3.7 million Southside Boys & Girls Club.
In 2005, Sakry and the Board of Directors agreed that a replacement for the Eastside facility was necessary, and plans for the new building were drawn. The new Eastside Club opened in Raymond Park on December 28, 2008.
In 2011, a campaign was launched to expand the Roosevelt Boys & Girls Club to include a commercial kitchen, kids’ café and teen center. The newly expanded and renovated Club opened with a ribbon-cutting ceremony June 27, 2013.
Sadly, in June 2014, a lightning-sparked fire destroyed the Roosevelt Early Childhood Education Center next door to the Roosevelt Club and robbed the youth of the gym that the Club had shared with the school for 20 years. So, this launched yet another campaign to finally add a gym onto the Club. Construction of this gym expansion was completed successfully in November 2015.
Under Mark’s leadership, the KIDSTOP school-aged child care program has grown from two pilot sites in 1985 to 15 sites in the St. Cloud, Sartell-St. Stephen, Sauk Rapids-Rice and ROCORI school districts, as well as STRIDE and Athlos Academy charter schools.
Lastly, Mark’s dream to bring high quality arts programming to the Boys & Girls Club was realized in 2014 when the organization partnered with Boys & Girls Clubs of America and the Wallace Foundation to test 10 success principles for high quality arts programming across four art forms at the Southside and Eastside Clubs. Funding was provided to run these programs in full through 2017, and the Board is fundraising to sustain these programs long-term.
For decades, Sakry has been making dreams become a reality for tens of thousands of kids across Central Minnesota. Under his positive leadership, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Minnesota has grown to be one of the largest Boys & Girls Club organizations in the country, serving 1,700 youth in grades K-12 per day.