NAACP’s Ben Jealous wants to ‘spend more time at home’
Benjamin Todd Jealous announced Monday that he has decided to resign from his position as the president of the NAACP.
Jealous, 40, has been the head of the civil rights organization for just over five years and led the NAACP to much success.
However, he says the work load has been grueling and consequently, has limited his time at home with his family.
“Five years ago I made two promises,” Jealous said in a press conference call Monday. “One was to the organization; I would step up and lead a successful effort to take us to the next level.”
“My second promise was to my daughter, who on her 4th birthday asked when she was going to get her daddy back and have her daddy at home,” he added.
At the time he was appointed in 2007, Jealous was the youngest president in the 104-year history of the NAACP. He was 35 years old and in addition to the responsibilities he held as president, he was also a newlywed and a young father.
Upon his induction, Jealous said he promised his daughter that she would “get her daddy back” in five years – which was the amount of time he allotted to accomplish the personal and professional goals he put in place.
During that time, Jealous and his team have increased the number of online activists from 175,000 to over 675,000, doubled the organization’s revenue from $23 million since 2007 and nationally expanded their donor base by more than 100,000 individuals per year.
However, this year more than ever, Jealous has reflected on his promise to his daughter and while he has just now decided to go public with the news, he says he made the decision to step down in August.
The resignation will take effect on New Year’s Eve and Jealous said he will continue to be active in the NAACP over the next four months.
Following that time, Jealous said he plans to pursue opportunities in academia to teach the next group of social justice advocates and dedicate more personal time to his wife, Lisa Epperson Jealous, and two children.
“Professionally, I plan to focus on training the next generation of leaders,” he said. “Personally, I plan on spending a lot more time at home just being dad.”
Jealous’ successor has not yet been identified but a search committee has been established to recruit and review candidates.
“We are sharing our disappointment that Jealous is leaving us after a very successful 5 years,” said Roslyn M. Brock, Chairman of the NAACP Board of Directors. “Clearly he has reenergized the field of the NAACP and we have made many stellar accomplishments that we are most proud of.”
Despite the many achievements, Brock said the organization still has much to do and credits Jealous for the insight and lessons he has shared that will help guide the organization to future success.
“We’re up to the challenge and we’re a stronger organization than we were five years ago due in large part due to his leadership,” she said.
Brock said the organization is pledged to register more than 15,000 new voters by Jan. 14, 2014 and will continue to work on establishing a political pact to support minority candidates – an effort Jealous has supported and will contribute to during the remainder of this time.
“We’re hopeful for the future and we believe we will continue to have a bright future,” Brock said.
She thanked Jealous for the hard work and dedication he has delivered to the NAACP as he shifts his family to the forefront and focuses on personal matters.
Still, Brock said the organization continues to look forward to the potential advances it hopes to make — and reassures that the NAACP is alive and it’s well.
Follow Lilly Workneh on Twitter @Lilly_Works