The longtime president and chief executive officer of the CDC Foundation has announced he is retiring at the end of the year.
Charles Stokes, 65, has led the Atlanta-based foundation since 1995, soon after the foundation was created by Congress as an independent, nonprofit organization.
The CDC Foundation is charged with creating public-private partnerships to support the Atlanta-based CDC’s mission to save lives and protect people from health and safety threats. The foundation helps CDC pursue innovative ideas that need support from outside partners.
Since 1995, the foundation has provided $450 million to support CDC work and launched more than 750 programs around the world.
“Leading the CDC Foundation and working with staff here and at CDC has been a privilege and the highlight of my career,” said Stokes in a statement Tuesday.
“CDC is the strongest, most trusted public health leader in the world,’’ he said. “Working in close partnership with their leaders at all levels, and with the indispensable support of our many donors and our board of directors, we have grown the CDC Foundation from a startup to an organization that now supports CDC’s lifesaving public health protection work around the globe.”
Douglas W. Nelson, board chairman of the organization, said, “Charlie has been a tremendous leader for the CDC Foundation.”
Under Stokes’ leadership, the CDC Foundation has grown from a staff of two to an organization of more than 150 central and field staff who manage more than 250 public health programs in partnership with CDC.
“Not many people are able to start an entity from scratch and build it into something that makes such a difference in the lives of people in the United States and throughout the world — but Charlie through his work with CDC and staff at the CDC Foundation has been able to do just that,” said Nelson in a statement.
The foundation board will form a search committee to find a new president and CEO, with the goal that the new person be able to join the foundation before year’s end.