CEO of Catholic Charities Fort Worth accepts position at the University of Notre Dame

Heather Reynolds

Heather Reynolds, president and CEO of Catholic Charities Fort Worth (CCFW), is leaving the organization effective at the end of the year to become managing director of the Wilson Sheehan Lab for Economic Opportunities (LEO) at the University of Notre Dame, the Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth said in a news release.

For the last 17 years, Reynolds has overseen the strategic direction for the Fort Worth-based,

$45 million non-profit.

With nearly 400 employees and four locations throughout the 28 counties that make up the Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth, CCFW serves tens of thousands of people each year through its diverse services, poverty solutions, and income-generating social enterprises, the news release said.

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“Serving with the incredible team at CCFW over the last almost 17 years has been one of the greatest joys of my life,” Reynolds said in the release. “To be a part of something that matters and matters to so many – to investors who give, to staff and volunteers who serve, to community members who support, and to clients who allow us to walk this journey with them – has been a privilege.

Reynolds will be with CCFW through Dec. 14. Current Chief Operating Officer Paul Boyd will serve as interim CEO until a new CEO is named.

Reynolds began her professional career at 22 as an intern in the clinical counseling department at CCFW, then progressed to full-time employment in fundraising. Reynolds took the helm as CEO at only 25 years old, following the passing of the previous executive director, Karen Spicer.

Bishop Michael F. Olson of the Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth thanked Reynolds for her 17 years of service.

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“Heather Reynolds’ servant leadership at CCFW has helped to foster an authentically Catholic vision among the people of our diocese and within the broader community who live in the 28 counties that comprise the Diocese of Fort Worth,” he said. “She has helped us to address intelligently and compassionately the evil of oppressive poverty at its roots with the priority of placing the poor first. I thank her, and I will miss her and her family.”

LEO was founded in 2012 to identify innovative, effective, and scalable programs to help people move out of poverty, the news release said.

LEO’s research is conducted by faculty from the University of Notre Dame as well as scholars from across the country with expertise in designing and evaluating the impact of domestic anti-poverty programs. This has included evaluations of CCFW’s Padua and Stay the Course programs over the past five years.

“LEO would not be where it is as an organization without our wonderful partnership with Catholic Charities Fort Worth,” Bill Evans, Keough-Hesburgh Professor of Economics and co-founder of the Wilson Sheehan Lab for Economic Opportunities, said in the news release.

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“Our partnership has been championed from the start by Heather. We feel blessed that Heather will be leading our lab as we move forward. She is a passionate, inventive and effective leader in the fight against poverty. She is the perfect person to help us advance our mission of improving lives through evidenced-based policy and research,” Evans said.

Reynolds acts as the national advisor to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Migration and serves on the Catholic Charities USA Executive Council of Diocesan Directors.

In 2012, she was honored as the Center for Nonprofit Management’s Nonprofit CEO of the Year. In 2011, Reynolds was awarded the Benemerenti Medal from Pope Benedict XVI, the highest honor a layperson can receive in the Catholic Church.

¬– FWBP Staff