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Lee Ernst Appointed as Incoming JGA CEO

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Leadership Transition Positions JGA for Philanthropic Innovation

Johnson, Grossnickle and Associates (JGA) is positioning itself to help advise nonprofits in a changing environment for philanthropy with a strategic leadership transition. Lee Ernst, a seasoned advancement professional with a decade of service at JGA, will assume the role of Chief Executive Officer (CEO) effective July 1, 2024.

“As JGA approaches its 30th anniversary next year, this leadership change is timely and reflective of our continued commitment to empowering nonprofits,” commented Ted Grossnickle, Senior Consultant and Founder of JGA. “Lee’s emphasis on industry trends, new products development, and enhanced industry partnerships, while maintaining our excellent delivery of services, combined with the talented team at JGA, provide a seamless blend of experience and fresh perspectives to address the emerging needs of nonprofits.”

Throughout her time at JGA, Ernst, who currently serves as a Senior Consultant and New Product Leader, has demonstrated a keen understanding of the philanthropic landscape and actively contributed to the firm’s growth and success.

“Lee’s strategic guidance in our collaboration with JGA at Luther College has been invaluable,” adds Mary Duvall, Vice President for Development at Luther College. “Her expertise extends beyond understanding best practices to skillfully applying them to our unique situation. She very quickly establishes herself as a trusted partner, with support, personalization, and accountability at the core of the relationship.”

In addition to providing counsel to a wide range of nonprofit clients in education, social services, and the arts, she leads JGA’s new product development and fosters strategic industry partnerships. Through these initiatives, she has helped spearhead continued innovation and growth of services to position JGA to meet the emerging needs of nonprofits, such as Acuity®, a prospect prioritization tool developed with DonorSearch, and Acuity Darts, a prospect prioritization and communication tool developed with Carnegie.

“In the dynamic landscape of advancement, innovation isn’t just a choice; it’s the critical mandate of our time,” explains Scott Ochander, Partner and Chief Leadership Strategist at Carnegie. “Lee understands the fundamental shifts in fundraising strategy and is just the right leader to help nonprofits embrace fresh ideas and new strategies to better connect with a new generation of supporters. Her experience and passion has already helped position JGA at the forefront of new initiatives that embrace actionable data through transformative strategies that challenge traditional paradigms and deliver more positive outcomes.”

During the transitional period leading up to her CEO appointment, Ernst will assume the role of Chief Operating Officer (COO), undertaking various operational responsibilities as she transitions into the day-to-day leadership of the firm while continuing to actively engage in client consultation.

Angela White, JGA’s outgoing CEO, has played a pivotal role in the firm’s success over the past 27 years. Her contributions as a Senior Consultant and CEO for the past 12 years have been instrumental as JGA has helped clients grow support for their missions, set strategic directions, and pivot to respond to the pandemic. White will remain at JGA during a transition period before embarking on a new leadership role in August 2024 at the Eskenazi Health Foundation, with whom JGA has a long history of partnership..

Ted Grossnickle will remain an integral part of the leadership team. His continued involvement in client work, business development, and strategic guidance ensures a seamless transition and maintains the strong foundation upon which JGA was built when he founded the firm in 1994 with Don Johnson.