Covenant House Florida Appoints New Executive Director
Embarking on a $10 million capital campaign to meet the growing needs of children and youth who face homelessness, the Board of Directors of Covenant House Florida has announced that Michael S. Long will step into the role of Executive Director and James M. Gress, the agency’s current leader, will take on the role of Capital Campaign Director.
Long, whose appointment takes effect on April 24, 2018, comes to the helm of Florida’s largest charity dedicated to children and youth who experience homelessness in Fort Lauderdale and Orlando. A Lighthouse Point resident, Long joins Covenant House Florida with a strong knowledge of homeless issues, funding and solutions, having served as Chief Development and Communications Officer for Broward Partnership for the past six years. Broward Partnership operates the Broward County Central Homeless Assistance Center offering shelter and services to give men, women and families experiencing homelessness the opportunity to stabilize, engage and acquire the personal tools necessary to break the cycle of homelessness.
Gress, a Plantation resident, joined Covenant House Florida 33 years ago and moved up the ranks to executive director in 2003. He will spearhead a statewide initiative to raise $10 million for expanded facilities and programming to serve more youth overcoming homelessness in Florida.
The campaign, titled “Our Great Promise: Florida’s Future,” will raise funds to replace the agency’s aging beachside shelter in Fort Lauderdale and deepen services, including healthcare and workforce development, in Orlando. The campaign officially launches later this year.
Long’s roots in the Broward County community run deep. He formerly served as the President and CEO of the Broward Education Foundation for nine years and as President and CEO of the Broward Health Foundation for two years. His connection to Covenant House Florida goes back to the mid-90s: he was one of the early members of Young Professionals for Covenant House, the first young professionals support group founded in Broward County.
“Mike brings passion for our mission and 25 years of executive leadership and fundraising experience. He’s going to hit the ground running,” said Kevin Ryan, President and CEO of Covenant House International. “And I’m excited to see Jim Gress now lead the most ambitious capital campaign we’ve ever undertaken in Florida. He has the heart and vision to help us raise the support we need to reach more of the kids who need us.”
Long’s many civic and volunteer activities include the Broward County Housing Authority, Leadership Broward, Florida Atlantic University’s President’s Broward Council, FAU National Alumni Association, FAU Foundation, Broward County Planning Council, Executives’ Association of Fort Lauderdale, and the Winterfest Boat Parade. Long earned an Associate of Arts from Broward College and a Bachelor of Science from Florida Atlantic University. He was recognized by Broward College as an outstanding alumnus in 2016, inducting him into the Broward College Hall of Distinction.
Covenant House Florida, with shelters in Fort Lauderdale and Orlando, serves young people experiencing homelessness up to age 21 by providing emergency shelter, counseling, case management, therapy, health services, family reunification, substance abuse treatment, pregnancy prevention, teen parenting education, job readiness training, transportation assistance, transitional housing and education. Since opening its doors in 1985, the agency has served more than 35,000 young people overcoming homelessness. For more information, contact email@example.com or 954-568-7914.