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Bill Geiger, who had been set to leave the McGaw YMCA after nine years as its chief executive officer, will remain in that position for another two years.

In an October interview with the RoundTable, Mr. Geiger said he planned to leave because he felt the timeline of the McGaw Y’s strategic plan – possibly seven years – would not be feasible and he did not wish to saddle the board of directors with the disruption of a search in the middle of implementing the plan.

A two-year extension, though, appears to be satisfactory to both sides, as the McGaw Y board of directors announced last week that they would “retain Mr. Geiger as CEO for up to two years to lead exploration of new, bold strategic community collaborations designed to have a deeper and more persuasive impact on the Evanston community.”

“The Board is very pleased that Bill has eagerly accepted our request to stay on as CEO,” said Kirk Hoopingarner, McGaw YMCA board chair. “Our Board is excited to explore a strategic process of shared-vision development and an expanded effort in collaboration with other youth – serving partners in Evanston, and we could think of no one better than Bill to engage our community leaders in this strategic dialogue.”

Mr. Geiger told the RoundTable the strategic plan had always contained a thread of collaboration. “This will be a deeper, stronger collaboration than we may have talked about in the past,” he said. “Much of the fall began to weigh heavily on the board – not just the increase in violence among the youth, but also the startling increases in poverty and the ongoing challenge of the achievement gap [between white and minority students].”

The Youth Job Center, YWCA Evanston/North Shore, Youth Organizations Umbrella (Y.O.U.), Family Focus and the McGaw Y can partner more strongly with the schools, Mr. Geiger said.

As news spread, Mr. Geiger said he had received several phone calls applauding the board’s and Mr. Geiger’s decision.

“It’s been very gratifying,” he said. Still, he said, “The need to do things differently resonates. We have to figure out ways to do it together if we’re going to make meaningful change. ”

Mr. Geiger said he plans to remain a candidate for the District 202 School Board: “The high school is an incredibly powerful force in the community.” He said he hoped to be the kind of Board member at District 202 that he has enjoyed working with at the McGaw Y.

Mary Gavin

Mary Gavin is the founder of the Evanston RoundTable. After 23 years as its publisher and manager, she helped transition the RoundTable to nonprofit status in 2021. She continues to write, edit, mentor...