Jacksonville, Fla. (Jan. 19, 2016) – The Feeding Northeast Florida (FNEFL) Board of Directors has hired Luke Layow, a local fundraising professional with more than 15 years of progressive management experience, as the new president and CEO for the organization.
Layow previously served as the director of philanthropy at The First Tee.
“In addition to Luke’s professional accomplishments, we’re excited to bring someone on board who is well known throughout the philanthropic community and who can also help us reach our fundraising goals,” said FNEFL Board Chair Chuck Wyckoff. “During his previous tenure at The First Tee, Luke was responsible for identifying, cultivating and soliciting major gifts, where the team continually met and exceeded fundraising goals for the organization.”
Layow says he is looking forward to the opportunity to lead an organization that has “such a broad-reaching, positive impact” on the local community.
“I’ve worked with agencies that are national in scope, so it’s an honor to have the chance to serve an agency that meets such a fundamental human need in my own backyard,” Layow said. “My immediate goal is to continue building on the great work the board and staff have done to bring us to where we are today, and to create a sustainable organization that can fully meet the needs of our 17 Northeast Florida counties in the future.”
According to outgoing president and CEO Bruce Ganger, who now serves on the FNEFL Board of Directors, Layow is “the perfect choice” given the agency’s critical needs.
“Our focus since the beginning has been to create a reliable and cost-effective food distribution network to meet the community’s needs,” Ganger said. “We have accomplished that and distributed 20 million pounds of food in our first year. However, distributing the 40 million pounds annually that will ensure all who need food have access to it will require significant community investment in funding, and a move to a larger facility. Luke is the perfect person to lead Feeding Northeast Florida, and the community, to reach that objective.”
Local philanthropist Lawrence (Laurie) DuBow, who took part in the interview process, agreed.
“I was impressed with Luke’s understanding of how hunger impacts several segments of our community, negatively affecting a child’s ability to learn, adding stress to the lives of working families and the effect hunger can have on the health of our residents,” DuBow said. “Luke shares the passion to solve these issues. Under his talented and experienced leadership, I believe Feeding Northeast Florida is poised to continue making great strides forward for many more years to come.”
At The First Tee, where he had worked since 2010, Layow was directly responsible for raising six- and seven-figure gifts in each of the last four years. During his tenure there, Layow worked directly with The First Tee CEO, Board of Directors, and The PGA TOUR staff to complete a $100 million campaign, exceeding the campaign goal.
Prior to that, Layow was the director of advancement for Prison Fellowship, the largest nonprofit in the United States that supports the restoration of current and former prisoners and their families affected by incarceration. In this role, Layow focused on fiscal year and three-year strategic plans – coordinating fundraising and awareness events resulting in sustained gifts from existing donors, as well as new gifts from prospects.
He began his fundraising career in 2007 as the director of Institutional Advancement at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, a graduate school in Boston, with a focus on major gift solicitation, alumni relationship development and organizing events for the seminary president.
Before that, Layow managed an outsourced business-development company, New Oceans, LLC, and served as the southeast manager and division manager for Parsons Diamond Products, Inc., where he created, trained and managed a six-person national sales team.
Layow also worked in the sports industry, serving as a sport marketing executive with the Carolina Panthers from 2002-2003, and as a tournament coordinator with THE PLAYERS Championship in 2000.
He received both a Master of Exercise and Sports Science degree and a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Florida.
Layow also is a board member at the Ponte Vedra Family YMCA, and is a volunteer coach for First Coast YMCA Youth Basketball.