After 12 years of leading the United Way of the Chattahoochee Valley, President and CEO Scott Ferguson is preparing to leave.
And that departure comes Friday.
The 66-year-old Ferguson announced his retirement nine months. His replacement, Ben Moser, has been hired and started this month.
You can tell Ferguson is a short-timer, he is working out of a makeshift office in the conference room.
“It’s time to go home,” Ferguson said during a Thursday interview with News 3.
The United Way of the Chattahoochee Valley raised $7.1 million during last year’s campaign. That money helps fund nearly 30 agencies, ranging from the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts to Hospice.
Ferguson, a career United Way employee, came to Columbus from Utica, New York. He didn’t think this would be his last stop, but a dozen years later, it is.
He guided the United Way through the 2008 recession and crunch that caused to nonprofit organizations.
“I am very proud of our United Way of the Chattahoochee Valley with all of the great volunteers and the staff,” Ferguson said. “I think I am leaving it a little better than I found it and strong. We have helped position it, collectively and it’s not just me, for Ben, the new guy coming in to take it to the next level.”
He calls Columbus a generous community that openly supports philanthropic causes.
“This is a great town,” he said. “I am going to miss all the friends I have made here. I am going to miss running on the riverwalk, but this is a very strong United Way and as long as the community continues to support it as they have, which I know they will, it will continue to be strong and successful.”
A native New Englander, Ferguson and his wife Donna have already purchased a retirement home in central Maine.
Asked if he had any advice for those like him who come into Columbus and take key leadership positions, Ferguson said the key thing is to learn the community.
“You have to learn Columbus first,” he said. “It is a very unique town because it’s that public-private partnership that really works. You have to raise your hand and you have to volunteer for other organizations. You have to be visible in the community and you have to talk to people, even though they made fun of my accent and I made fun of theirs, as well. But it’s a welcoming community, but you have to extend your hand out as well and don’t just wait for everybody.”