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James Norman, Action for A Better Community CEO, to Retire After 25 Years

By Staff –


James Norman, President and CEO of Action For A Better Community

James Norman, President and CEO of Action For A Better Community

Action for A Better Community CEO James Norman has announced he will retire Dec. 31, after serving 25 years with the organization.

ABC will form a search committee to hire the group’s next president in April, and the new CEO’s appointment will take effect January 1, 2018.

Norman announced his decision during a meeting with ABC’s board of directors, recently.

“I am very fortunate to have had the opportunity to provide executive leadership to such a vital community-based organization,” he stated. “I have enjoyed my associations with the dedicated board members, staff, and colleagues I have worked with over the years. I am especially grateful to have had the privilege of doing the kind of work that is directly in sync with my faith and my value system. I’m sure that I will miss the highs, lows, challenges and breakthroughs, but it’s time to pass the baton.”

According to Norman, he was prompted to make the decision after spending over 45 years working in both the public and non-profit sectors.

“After being in the public and non-profit sectors, combined, for over 45 years, what I want to do is have a little more leisure time, while I can enjoy myself in relatively decent health, and to do things I want to do, as opposed to things I have to do,” he stated.

Before relocating to Rochester in 1992, Norman served as the Michigan Department of Labor’s Deputy director for administration. Prior to that, he’d directed the department’s Bureau of Community Services, which administered the state’s Community Services Block Grant, Weatherization, Energy Assistance, and Neighborhood Assistance Programs.

His current affiliations also include the ABC Foundation Board, Rochester’s Facing Race, Embracing Equity Initiative, and the Rochester-Monroe Antipoverty Initiative. Norman is also an adjunct associate professor at Monroe Community College.

During his tenure at ABC, the organization expanded the range and impact of its programs; developed numerous collaborations and partnerships; activated the ABC Foundation; increased agency visibility; revamped internal financial, business, and management systems; outsourced ancillary operations; enhanced staff development; and made improvements in board governance, officials from the organization stated.

According to Brad Rye, ABC board chair, Norman will be sorely missed.

“James has worked tirelessly throughout his career to champion and support individuals seeking to achieve and maintain self-sufficiency,” Rye stated. “ABC, the people we serve, and indeed the entire greater Rochester community have benefited tremendously from James’ leadership on issues and programs that are vital to improving the quality of life for everyone. The board deeply appreciates and thanks James for his outstanding service to ABC for the last quarter century.”

As for Norman, he said he’d like to see someone with a passion for eradicating poverty fill his position.

“Obviously, the board will be, or each committee member will be looking for people that have had some administrative experience so they can do the management duties,” he said. “But, philosophically, they must be an individual that believes an agency like ABC can make a dent in reducing poverty.”

ABC is a community action agency that provides services to assist people in becoming more self-sufficient throughout Monroe and Ontario counties.

Visit for additional information regarding the organization.

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