Michele R. Atkins, CFRE, retired from her position as Executive Director at Shady Lane School in 2016. During her tenure there, she brought the organization from one that was financially precarious to one that was financially stable. She helped to introduce new populations of children to the school and helped the school celebrate its 50th anniversary. Prior to that, she served as the President and CEO of Heritage Community Initiatives, a community based not-for-profit organization based in Braddock, PA. She has more than 30 years of not-for-profit management, strategic planning, fundraising and governance experience.
Ms. Atkins worked professionally for numerous not-for-profit organizations, interfacing with boards of directors, supervising staff in multiple locations, creating and implementing strategic and business plans, creating and implementing a variety of national fundraising strategies and campaigns and representing organizations to the media. She worked for and served in a senior leadership position at the Child Care Center in Bethel Park (Executive Director), the Make-A-Wish Foundation of western Pennsylvania and southern West Virginia (President & CEO), the Make-A-Wish Foundation of America, the American Lung Association, Gilda’s Club of New York City and the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.
Ms. Atkins earned a B.A. from Carlow College. Her professional credentials include CFRE, Certification in Human Services, University of Pittsburgh, Leadership Pittsburgh, and Certified Change Master. She also received honors and awards from Carlow College Woman of Spirit, Carlow College Distinguished Alumnae Award, Joseph Gilbert Award for Excellence in Management, Vectors Pittsburgh Woman of the Year in Community Service, Variety Club Sweetheart Award, Ronald McDonald Children’s Charities of Tri-Ad-Mac Big MAC Award, and the Humanitarian Award from the Fraternal Societies of Greater Pittsburgh.
She recently served as Chair of the Board of Trustees of Carlow University where she currently still serves as the Immediate Past Chair. She also serves as the Secretary of the Board of Directors for the Pittsburgh Opera (Executive Committee) and of UPMC Magee Womens Hospital. She has served on the boards of directors of Friends of the Orphans, New York SAVE, Animal Friends, Inc., American Society of Association Executives, Greater Pittsburgh Commission for Women, the Mendelssohn Choir, the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Pat McKeown and Dancers, the Pittsburgh International Folk Theatre, Project STAR, Every Child, Inc., Variety the Children’s Charity, and the Western Pennsylvania Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse, KaBOOM!, Bethlehem Haven, and Heritage Health Foundation, Inc.