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Jax Daily Record Wednesday, Apr. 17, 201312:00 PM EST

New Girl Scouts of Gateway Council CEO considers organization a leadership development pipeline


Mary Anne Jacobs spent the past 22 years with Time Warner Cable and Cox Communications in South Carolina and brings that business background to Jacksonville as she becomes CEO of the Girl Scouts of Gateway Council on May 6.

She intends to use her insights to increase not only the number of girls served in its 16-county region but also the council's role in community leadership development and its stake in the area's economic future.

"We are providing and developing a pipeline of leaders," Jacobs said Tuesday during a telephone interview.

"When we have a diverse group of individuals making decisions and women at the table are strong and courageous and confident leaders, then wiser decisions are made," she said.

"The Girl Scouts can develop these women starting at a very young age to be effective corporate and nonprofit leaders," she said.

Jacobs, 55, will succeed Sandra "Sam" Tysver, who is retiring after almost 20 years of leading the organization. Jacobs emphasized Tysver's accomplishments.

Girl Scouts of Gateway Council is based in Jacksonville and has offices in Jacksonville, Gainesville and Middleburg. It serves about 18,800 girls and adults in an area from the Gulf of Mexico to the Atlantic Ocean.

It is chartered by Girl Scouts of the USA to provide the Girl Scout program in Alachua, Baker, Bradford, Clay, Columbia, Dixie, Duval, Flagler, Gilchrist, Hamilton, Levy, Nassau, Putnam, St. Johns, Suwannee and Union counties in Florida.

More information is available at

The oldest child of a family of five girls and one boy, Jacobs grew up in Western Pennsylvania and was a Girl Scout through high school, but has not been active with the organization since then.

Another of her goals is to reconnect former Girl Scouts with the council. "How do we reconnect with the alumnae of the Girl Scouts," she asked, posing one of her strategic paths.

"There are some very valuable lessons to be learned and to reconnect them as resource, as mentors and possibly troop leaders, that is a valuable resource," she said.

Jacobs majored in psychology at West Virginia University and earned her MBA from Webster University in Myrtle Beach.

She spent a year as a teacher and then was with Prudential Financial Services in sales before joining Cox Communications in Myrtle Beach in a marketing position.

She had responded to a newspaper ad for the Cox position and "had no idea the size and volume of the organization" until taking the job.

Time Warner Cable bought the organization and she moved from marketing to serving as vice president and general manager in Myrtle Beach.

"It was a very diverse community and I thoroughly enjoyed it," she said. She led 227 employees and eight offices. "I enjoy creating and working toward a vision and brining people along and toward it," she said.

Jacobs said she was asked to move to Columbia, S.C., to create a statewide philanthropic strategy for the company. Her last three years there were spent working in government relations covering four states.

After 20 years with the company and at the age of 55, she opted for retirement and the pursuit of her next career.

"The timing was just perfect," she said.

Her career includes volunteer service as a board member for Youth Corps and chair of the board of the Boys & Girls Club of the Midlands.

She has held other positions and won awards, and also served as president of the Southeastern Institute for Women in Politics, which encourages and trains women to run for public office.

She also chaired the communications committee of the South Carolina Chamber of commerce.

Jacobs intends to become involved with the JAX Chamber. "I believe the chamber of commerce is one of the best ways to get connected to the community," she said.

Jacobs and her husband, Jeff, a videographer who works in the legal field, will be moving to Jacksonville. They have a daughter who attends the University of South Carolina and a grown son who is married with a family. They have three grandsons.

She said they were looking forward to the move to Jacksonville. "I have it on great authority that is a welcoming community," she said.

Her first goal upon arrival May 6 is to meet with staff of the Girl Scouts of Gateway Council and visit the offices and properties.

The council has 55 fulltime, 20 parttime and about 50 seasonal employees.

"It's important as the new CEO to come in and really get an understanding of the operation," she said.

"Sam has done a phenomenal job and I have huge shoes to fill," she said.

Jacobs, who will revisit the group's strategic plan, recognizes the transition from corporate America into the nonprofit environment.

"I look at this as more of a business because no matter what we do, we make sure we do it effectively and efficiently," she said.

As a corporate executive, she understands the CEO affects all elements of an organization, and that all parts of an organization play a role in its success.

"I believe that every one of the staff members has a part to play in growing the number of girls that participate in the Girl Scouts of Gateway Council," she said.

She said the council has an economic stake in the 16 counties it serves because the organizations in that area "depend on us to deliver a strong product."

"Corporate America can depend on the Girl Scouts to create and fill the pipeline for future leaders," Jacobs said.

"Girl Scouts can depend on corporate America to help support the nonprofit world. You make a mistake if you don't connect the two."

Community Foundation updates name

The Community Foundation in Jacksonville has changed its name to The Community Foundation for Northeast Florida.

The foundation said the new name reflects its expanding reach of providing philanthropic services for donors and organizations in an area from Lake City to Palatka and St. Augustine to Amelia Island.

It also engaged Wingard Creative to update its logo and introduced a new tag line: Giving Back. Giving Forward.

The Community Foundation for Northeast Florida has assets of $257 million and has awarded $242.5 million in grants since 1965.

Riverside Hospital Foundation seeks grant proposals

The Riverside Hospital Foundation, which says it serves as the living legacy of the former Riverside Hospital, requests grant proposals from nonprofit agencies planning new programs to address access to health care.

The foundation was established in 1991 when the hospital was sold. It says it seeks to keep the mission of the hospital alive by supporting the region's medically related nonprofit organizations.

According to the foundation, a qualifying nonprofit agency will be awarded a grant with a maximum of $75,000 per year, for up to three years, to put into practice "a new and innovative program" that provides services in or among Baker, Clay, Duval, Nassau and St. Johns counties.

"Those of us who were familiar with Riverside Hospital understood its dedication to quality health care in our community," said foundation Executive Director Helen Werking in a news release.

"While today the former hospital site serves as a hub of activity providing valuable services to the Riverside community and surrounding neighborhoods, we are fortunate to have the foundation standing ready to maintain the legacy of the hospital's mission," she said.

To be considered for the grant, "proposed programs should be replicable, measurable, have a self-sustaining end point, and be focused on increasing health care access in one or more of the five counties in the greater Jacksonville area," said the release.

The deadline for grant proposal submission is 3 p.m. June 28. Guidelines for grant submission are available at

Riverside Hospital operated for 86 years in Jacksonville. It opened in 1911 as Rogers Hospital and was the first hospital in Florida to perform X-rays and electrocardiograms. The release says it also was the first to require board-certified medical staff.

The Riverside Hospital Foundation has disbursed more than $9 million in grants to public and private nonprofit corporations, organizations and programs that engage in or support the research, delivery or provision of health care.

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