January 25, 2013 – Deborah Blanks, the Chief Executive Officer of the Social Development Commission (SDC) serving Milwaukee County, retired on January 11, 2013, after 15 years of service to Milwaukee’s largest anti-poverty agency.
Ms. Blanks was appointed CEO of SDC in 1997. Refocusing the agency after a difficult period of funding cutbacks and leadership turmoil, Deborah oversaw a dramatic growth in SDC’s scope and in its resources; during her time at the agency, SDC grew from a $23 million budget to $60 million in 2010.
During her tenure, Deborah directed increased efforts in SDC’s provision of programming for Milwaukee’s low-income residents in the areas of asset development, employment, family strengthening, and education and training.
In announcing her retirement, Ms. Blanks said, “I appreciate the opportunity to have served the low-income residents of Milwaukee County during my tenure at SDC. I respect the committed, hard-working and professional staff at SDC and wish them and the agency the best.”
Ms. Blanks served on WISCAP’s Board of Directors for 15 years, 5 of those years as the Board’s President. In 2012, she received the President’s Award from WISCAP for a lifetime body of work advancing the cause of economic self-sufficiency. Current WISCAP President, Mike Bonertz, Executive Director of Advocap, Inc. (serving Fond du Lac, Winnebago and Green Lake counties) spoke for the association when he said, “WISCAP is grateful to Deborah for her dedication to community action and to serving the low-income residents of Milwaukee County and the entire state. Under her leadership, WISCAP expanded its policy voice in service to the entire network and helped to streamline and make more efficient Board operations. Her time spent with us—and the example she set—will be of service to the entire Community Action movement well into the future.”
Prior to joining SDC, Ms. Blanks worked as Milwaukee County’s Disadvantaged Business Development Director and as the City of Milwaukee’s Purchasing Director. In addition to her time on the WISCAP Board, Deborah has served as Past President of the Mid-America Community Action Association, President of the Planning Council of Milwaukee, Past Treasurer of the National Community Action Partnership, and Past President of the Wisconsin Non-Profit Association.