Hope Haven Names New Chief Executive Officer

Hope Haven Names New Chief Executive Officer

Hope Haven, one of Northeast Florida’s leading nonprofit providers of specialized services for children and their families, announced today that its Board of Directors has selected Stella E. Johnson as the organization’s new Chief Executive Officer.

Ms. Johnson currently serves as the Executive Director of the Family Nurturing Center, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the needs of children and families in crisis in North Florida. She will assume her new role with Hope Haven on September 18, 2017.

Hope Haven Board Chair, Dr. Nichelle D. Stone, MBA, EdD, commented, “We are thrilled to welcome Stella to Hope Haven. Through the course of her successful career, Stella has proven to be a visionary leader with expertise in strengthening and growing nonprofit associations. Stella has significant experience in fundraising and donor development, collaborating with community partners, working with board directors, managing budgets, optimizing programs, and leading change management and business systems improvement. Hope Haven will benefit from Stella’s thoughtful, inclusive, and collaborative approach in working with all stakeholders for the betterment of the organization and its clients.”

“I am very honored and excited by this opportunity to lead Hope Haven in its next stage of growth as a premier provider of services in our community,” said Ms. Johnson. “I’ve been dedicated to youth and family services for my entire career and am passionate about delivering high quality programs that make a positive difference for local children and families. I have lived in the Jacksonville area for more than 30 years, have established deep local connections, and am committed to the success of this community.”

“My initial priority will be getting to know client families, staff, community partners, funders, and volunteers. Over the coming year, I look forward to working with the dedicated Hope Haven staff to evaluate and enhance our services, expand the fund development program, engage with other organizations in collaborative efforts, and increase our recognition, regionally and nationally, as experts in our field. Most importantly, I’d like to help advance an organizational culture that supports staff in capitalizing on their strengths and interests as we improve the lives of those we serve.”

Ms. Johnson joins Hope Haven with an extensive background working with children and families in Florida. She was with the Family Nurturing Center for 10 years, including serving as the Executive Director for the last eight years. She has provided consultation services and program development for foster care, delinquency, and similar programs serving at-risk youth and families. Previously, she served as Program Services Director for the Capital City Youth Services in Tallahassee and Program Coordinator for the Youth Crisis Center in Jacksonville. Ms. Johnson has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from the University of North Florida.


Following the departure of Hope Haven’s previous CEO in March 2017, Hope Haven’s Board of Directors appointed a search committee to conduct a thorough process to identify a successor. The search committee received input on the process, role, and potential candidates from a broad cross-section of staff, client families, donors, partners, and community members. Working with Peoplr, a top recruiting and executive search firm based in Jacksonville, more than 250 candidates were identified and screened during the process, culminating in the Board’s unanimous selection of Ms. Johnson as the next CEO.