SARASOTA, Fla. — The Manatee Community Action Agency, Inc., a nonprofit that provides quality services to low-income families and their children, recently welcomed Jill Gass as its director of development to cultivate a philanthropic culture of giving to raise funds to support its important mission.
MBJ Group, a talent management company, led the search for the nonprofit’s first director of development position, which began in October 2017. In her new role, Gass will develop and implement a comprehensive fundraising plan in partnership with the CEO, plan and oversee all special events, act as an advocate for the agency and serve as the organization’s major gift fundraiser, identifying, cultivating, soliciting and stewarding key donors and prospects.
“We are pleased to welcome Jill to the Manatee Community Action Agency team,” said Barbara Patten, the president and CEO of the nonprofit. “With experience in the public and nonprofit sectors, she understands our clients, their vulnerability and the stress they live with every day. Jill longed to return to the social services side, and it was evident that she has a real passion for the Manatee Community Action Agency’s story and mission.”
Most recently, Gass acted as the advancement and stewardship officer for The Out-of-Door Academy in Sarasota. During her two years there, she implemented and managed its annual fund campaign development and strategy, established overall goals and plans to raise over $1.1 million, helped manage their donor relations and handled special event planning, development and execution.
Prior to that position, she served as the executive director for We Care Manatee, Inc., which provides free medical care to uninsured and low-income residents in the Bradenton area. From 2008-15, Gass helped the nonprofit achieve several notable accomplishments, including the launch of an endowment in 2014 to help further the work of the program for perpetuity, the addition of Breast Health and Wellness and Vasectomy programs and the increase in grants received from $5,000 in 2008 to over $180,000 annually, growing the annual budget from $174,000 to $410,000.
She also increased cash flow and net income by 50 percent, improved donated services by over 180 percent and boosted participating physicians by 150 percent.
Gass was named a 2013 Tampa Bay Business Journal Healthcare Heroes finalist. She was also chosen as a 2014 Manatee Chamber of Commerce Champion in Healthcare finalist and honored as a 2015 Manatee Chamber of Commerce Champion in Healthcare winner. Gass received her bachelor’s degree in communications from the University of Minnesota.
Incorporated in 1968, the Manatee Community Action Agency provided services to over 11,000 families in 5,000 households in 2015. The nonprofit receives multiple federal, state and local grants and contracts, totaling over $13.6 million to assist low-income families to become self-sufficient. The Manatee Community Action Agency provides family-support programs, such as energy assistance, housing counseling, housing weatherization, parent’s instruction, children’s developmental screenings and parenting instruction. It also assists with job readiness, tax preparation and has a computer lab available to the public.
The nonprofit serves Manatee, DeSoto, Hardee, Charlotte and Sarasota Counties.
About MBJ Group
Sarasota residents and co-owners Jim and Mary Beth Bos founded MBJ Group in 2000. The company focuses on four areas, including facilitating searches for nonprofit and for-profit organizations, working with professionals in career transition, utilizing career assessments to assist organizations in the hiring process and coaching senior-level executives. For more information, visit www.MBJGroup.com.