Fifth Third Announces Second Empowering Community Leaders Cohort

Jul 10, 2024 12:00 PM ET
A large group photo of people stood on a stair case

CINCINNATI, July 10, 2024 /3BL/ - Fifth Third today announced the second cohort of its Empowering Community Leaders career development growth program, aimed at fostering the next generation of nonprofit leaders in the communities the Bank serves.

“When nonprofit organizations have the resources they need to succeed, the benefits become exponential,” said Chief Corporate Responsibility Officer Kala Gibson. “It means more effective programs that better serve the community, which leads to greater success, more demand, and the ability to hire and onboard more new employees.”

The Empowering Community Leaders program was launched in 2022 to provide resources and training to nonprofit leaders across Fifth Third’s footprint. Each leader is nominated for participation in the 18-month-long program by Fifth Third’s community impact managers.

Jointly funded by the Fifth Third Foundation and Fifth Third, ECL provides nonprofit leaders with lessons in leadership development, technical skills and specialized certifications that enable access to resources and knowledge necessary to achieve great community outcomes.

"The Fifth Third Foundation is dedicated to strengthening our communities," said Heidi B. Jark, managing director of the Fifth Third Foundation. "This program equips and empowers community and nonprofit leaders with the skills and knowledge to create positive and long-lasting impacts and pathways to opportunity."

The ECL program provides nonprofit leaders with access to training and development through several national organizations:

  • Harvard Kennedy School Executive Education: Executive Certificate in Nonprofit Leadership
  • Grow America (formerly the National Development Council): Rental housing development certification.
  • Resilia: Nonprofit capacity building program

Members of the 2024-25 Empowering Community Leaders cohort include:

AQUME Foundation Ciarra Adkins President Wyoming, MI
Avondale Development Corporation Russell Hairston Executive Director Cincinnati, OH
BUILD Institute Regina Ann Campbell President/CEO Detroit, MI
Charlotte Area Fund, Inc. Nicholas Wharton President/CEO Charlotte, NC
Childrens Home Society of Florida Andry Sweet President/CEO Orlando, FL
City of Dayton - Human Relations Council Lamonte Hall, Jr. Executive Director Dayton, OH
Corporation to Develop Communities of Tampa, Inc. Ernest Coney, Jr. CEO Tampa, FL
Goodwill Easterseals Miami Valley LaVar Glover Director of West Campus Operations Dayton, OH
Grove Park Foundation Gavin McGuire Executive Director Atlanta, GA
Hammond Development Corporation/HDC Jennifer Bussey Executive Director Hammond, IN
HOPE Toledo John Jones President & CEO Toledo, OH
IMPACT Community Action Robert "Bo" Chilton CEO Columbus, OH
Neighborhood Health Care Inc dba Neighborhood Family Practice Domonic Hopson President & CEO Cleveland, OH
ProsperUs Detroit Paul Jones CEO Detroit, MI
REBOUND, Inc. Kevin Dunlap President/CEO Louisville, KY
Spanish Coalition for Housing (SCH) Joseph Lopez Executive Director/CEO Chicago, IL
The Urban League of Greater Southwestern Ohio Christie Kuhns President/CEO Cincinnati, OH
Urban League of Broward County Courtnee Biscardi Executive Vice President Fort Lauderdale, FL
Urban League of Greater Atlanta Nancy Flake Johnson President & CEO Atlanta, GA
United Way of Greater Nashville Erica Mitchell EVP, Chief Community Impact Officer Nashville, TN
Walnut Hills Redevelopment Foundation Samantha Miller Executive Director Cincinnati, OH
West Michigan Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Guillermo Cisneros President & CEO Grand Rapids, MI
West Side Community Land Trust Charis Blackmon Executive Director Charlotte, NC
Working Credit Morgan Spears Chief Community Engagement Officer Chicago, IL
YWCA South Florida, Inc. Kerry-Ann Royes President & CEO Miami, FL


To learn more about Empowering Community Leaders, please visit

About the Fifth Third Foundation 
Established in 1948, the Fifth Third Foundation was one of the first charitable foundations created by a financial institution. The Fifth Third Foundation supports worthy causes in the areas of health and human services, education, community development and the arts in the states where Fifth Third Bank operates.

About Fifth Third 
Fifth Third is a bank that’s as long on innovation as it is on history. Since 1858, we’ve been helping individuals, families, businesses and communities grow through smart financial services that improve lives. Our list of firsts is extensive, and it’s one that continues to expand as we explore the intersection of tech-driven innovation, dedicated people and focused community impact. Fifth Third is one of the few U.S.-based banks to have been named among Ethisphere’s World’s Most Ethical Companies® for several years. With a commitment to taking care of our customers, employees, communities and shareholders, our goal is not only to be the nation’s highest performing regional bank, but to be the bank people most value and trust.

Fifth Third Bank, National Association is a federally chartered institution. Fifth Third Bancorp is the indirect parent company of Fifth Third Bank and its common stock is traded on the NASDAQ® Global Select Market under the symbol "FITB." Investor information and press releases can be viewed at Deposit and credit products provided by Fifth Third Bank, National Association. Member FDIC.


Amanda Nageleisen (Media Relations) 
Matt Curoe (Investor Relations) | 513-534-2345