Exclusive: Terry Tucker resigns as CEO of Families First

Terry Tucker, former CEO of Families First, resigned this week. CONTRIBUTED

Terry Tucker has stepped down as CEO of Families First, almost a year to the day he started at the Atlanta nonprofit.

Tucker, 43, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, that he resigned on Monday to pursue other endeavors that will likely keep him involved in the community.

“It’s really about where I wanted to spend my time,” said Tucker, who succeeded Kim Anderson as CEO in 2017. “The solution will require more than nonprofits working in isolation. You need government, nonprofits and the private sector joined together in solving these complex problems. That’s the whole reason for the transition for me. You have to bring a bigger group together.”

Related: Families First breaks ground on Westside home

Families First is a nonprofit that promotes family self-sufficiency and helps provide stable homes for children through adoption and foster care. Services include parenting classes, education support, counseling services and supportive housing.

Families First started in 1890 as an orphanage on the Westside of the city on what is now the Spelman campus.

Tucker, who said he always been an “entrepreneurial person,” praised the work of Families First but said it was best to leave the position to someone could focus solely on the organization.

Related: Families First names Terry Tucker new CEO

Families First is forming a search committee to vet candidates for the CEO position.

“In the meantime, Families First continues to focus on our mission of serving our clients and helping families and children in need,” according to spokeswoman Alice Bagley.

Until a successor is found, longtime board member, Marybeth Leamer will serve as the interim CEO. Leamer retired from Cox Enterprises earlier this year, where she served as executive vice president of human resources and administration.

Cox Enterprises, which owns The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, is one of the nonprofit’s corporate donors.

Prior to joining Families First, Tucker, a father of three, was chief strategy officer and general counsel with the City of Refuge.

At the time, Sunny Burrows, then chairman of the board of Families First praised Tucker’s “mix of creativity, passion, and respect for the power of data, all of which we expect to leverage to even greater impact on behalf of the children and families we serve.”

There are nearly 14,000 children in foster care in Georgia, up from 7,500 in 2011, according to the Families First website.

Of those, 50 percent are less likely to graduate from high school and 40 percent have had more than 40 percent.