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Attleboro Norton YMCA Welcomes Courtney Harrness as New CEO

Courtney Harrness

After 39 years as a YMCA professional and 13 years at the helm of the Attleboro Norton YMCA, CEO Robin McDonald will retire as of Friday, December 31. Courtney Harrness will step into the role of CEO beginning Monday, January 3.

During her time at the Attleboro Norton YMCA, McDonald helped the 154-year-old nonprofit organization rebound from financial distress, double its membership, raise its endowment to $9 million, and drive the Y’s annual campaign from $85,000 in 2008 to over $640,000 in 2019.

“For me, it’s always been about the people I serve with and those we help,” said McDonald in a statement. “I have served in Attleboro with the very best staff, volunteers, community leaders and Y members. I’m most proud of how this YMCA has focused on what is best for our children, our families our community – to do the most good we can, for the most people we can. The Y is in great hands with an experienced staff team in place, with a board of directors who are more dedicated and capable than any I’ve worked with, and with a new CEO in Courtney Harrness who I’m confident will lead this YMCA to new heights.”

Harrness comes to the Attleboro Norton YMCA from THE BASE, a Roxbury, Massachusetts-based nonprofit where he served as development director. Prior to his time at THE BASE, Harrness served as the senior executive director and special projects manager for the Twin Cities YMCA. He has also worked in leadership roles at the YMCA of Greater Boston and the Springfield YMCA.

“Since the announcement of Robin McDonald’s retirement, the CEO search committee spent a considerable amount of time working to replace some big shoes with the best fit for our Y,” said Jann Alden, the Y’s board of directors and chair of the search committee. “I am excited to work with Courtney. We believe his previous Y leadership positions along with his experience working in the field of philanthropy make him a great fit for our YMCA.”

Harrness has been described by his colleagues as a senior executive leader with extensive experience in strategic collaboration, philanthropy, volunteer development, program innovation and operations.

“I am honored to follow Robin as the next CEO of the Attleboro Norton YMCA,” said Harrness. “It was clear early on in the process that the alignment and synergy that exists with this opportunity is very authentic. I am thrilled to continue to find ways for the Attleboro Norton YMCA to move our mission forward.”

Paul Schleicher, the Attleboro Norton YMCA board president added, “We wish Robin a much deserved long and healthy retirement. That said, we are extremely excited about our incoming CEO Courtney Harrness. Courtney is just the individual to continue to move this Y forward into the future. He was the clear choice after a nearly yearlong, nationwide search process.”

Brittany Howard

Brittany is the editor of Community Rec Magazine. Reach her at brittany@peakemedia.com.

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