Search for Next Executive Director Announced

 SYRACUSE, NY, February 1, 2017

F.O.C.U.S. Greater Syracuse announced today that Charlotte (Chuckie) Holstein will retire as executive director effective April 28, 2017. “It is with regret, understanding and our highest regard that we have accepted Chuckie’s letter of resignation,” said Don Radke, President of the F.O.C.U.S. Board of Directors. “We are eternally grateful to Chuckie for her vision and leadership as the founder and executive director of F.O.C.U.S.  Her work has allowed citizens across our community to be meaningfully engaged with government on issues important to our city and region.”

F.O.C.U.S. Greater Syracuse, co-founded by Ms. Holstein and Judith Mower in 1997, is a citizen-driven organization that enables citizens, organizations and government to work together to enhance the quality of life and economic future of Central New York. F.O.C.U.S. citizen working groups have developed strategic action plans that have fostered positive change in the arts, in our trails and waterways, for regional development and transportation, for health care, and more. F.O.C.U.S. also hosts educational programs throughout the year to inform citizens about government and other community issues. These include monthly F.O.C.U.S. forums and The Citizens Academy, held in partnership with University College of Syracuse University.

F.O.C.U.S. is just one of Ms. Holstein’s numerous civic accomplishments. She is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Lawyer’s Fund for Client Protection of the State of New York. She was also a founder of Leadership Greater Syracuse and Youth Leadership Greater Syracuse, the Syracuse Commission for Women, Meals on Wheels, and the City/County Office on Aging. She also served as chair of the board at Loretto for 13 years and spearheaded development of The Nottingham, the first retirement community in the state. Ms. Holstein’s state, national and international work includes serving on the New York State Board of Social Welfare appointed by Gov. Nelson Rockefeller, on the New York State Division for Youth appointed by Gov.  Hugh Carey, as Honorary Vice President of the American Jewish Committee, and as chair of the National Committee on the Role of Women. She also served on the Advisory Committee for the White House Conferences on Families at the request of President Jimmy Carter. She is the recipient of many local, state and national awards for citizen trusteeship and two honorary doctoral degrees.

 A search for a new Executive Director has begun. “The board looks forward to working with the next executive director to continue F.O.C.U.S.’ important work in our community and build on Chuckie’s legacy,” said Bill Sanford, search committee chair. “We are fortunate that Chuckie has agreed to be available to the new executive director to ensure a smooth transition.” More information on the search process and applicant information can be found on F.O.C.U.S.’ web site at:

Ms. Holstein provided the following statement.  “I am stepping down as F.O.C.U.S.’ executive director after almost 20 years. It is time to pass F.O.C.U.S.’ important work on to a new leader and, at the age of 91, I look forward to spending time on my other national and global interests.  F.O.C.U.S. is in good hands with strong and committed leadership. I leave the organization on solid ground. Citizen centered citizen engagement has been a hard concept to convey and is sometimes challenging to those who embrace it.  So I give a hearty thanks to so many for the understanding and support of citizen trusteeship and its role in a democratic society, and for being part of the base upon which we have been able to build. ”

CONTACT: Communications Director Dee Klees
315-448-8731 (o) 315-559-0812 (m)


For printable pdf version of press release, click HERE.

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