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United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County is proud to announce Mark Thomas as the recipient of the 2021 Linda McFerrin African American Nonprofit Leadership Award. Thomas is the regional CEO and southeast Wisconsin chapter executive at American Red Cross.
The Linda McFerrin African American Nonprofit Leadership Award was established by United Way’s 2019-20 Board Chair Cory Nettles, founder and managing director of Generation Growth Capital, Inc. and his wife Michelle Nettles, chief people and culture officer at ManpowerGroup, in recognition of Linda McFerrin, retired vice president of resource development, and her 42 years of leadership and service to United Way.
The recipient of this annual award is chosen by United Way’s Diversity Leadership Society and a $5,000 grant is made to the organization they represent. The winner is announced each year on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday.
“We are so pleased to have chosen Mark for this award,” said Ron Adams, United Way’s Diversity Leadership Society Council Co-chair. “Mark serves our entire community with an open heart and great energy. Like Linda McFerrin, he isn’t the person always in the spotlight, but you know he is working hard to make it better for someone else.”
Mark Thomas has deep nonprofit and for-profit executive experience, with strengths in sales, operations management, and strategic leadership skills. He has led or participated in fundraising efforts for The American Heart Association, United Performing Arts Fund, and United Way. Most recently, he served as Vice President and COO for the Sojourner Family Peace Center in Milwaukee.
Thomas said the people and mission of the American Red Cross provide an opportunity to extend his professional expertise and his dedication to Milwaukee and Wisconsin.
“The staff, volunteers, donors and advocates at the Red Cross provide our state with a powerful resource for disaster relief and blood collections,” said Thomas. “I am grateful to help lead such a highly regarded organization with a commitment to Milwaukee and Wisconsin that spans more than 140 years.”
His professional background also includes leadership roles at The Milwaukee Business Journal, Wisconsin Department of Health Services, Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee, and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
A Milwaukee native who lives in Mequon with his family, Thomas has served and currently serves on numerous nonprofit boards and has been recognized on numerous occasions for his contributions to the community.
Cory Nettles added, “Michelle and I are so proud to continue our tradition of this special award and thrilled that Mark is this year’s recipient. His temperament of selflessness is obvious in all his work. He has truly impacted the lives of so many in our community.”