The board of directors for the Capital Area United Way on Friday announced the appointment of a new president and CEO who’s poised to make the organization the top nonprofit agency under his tenure after a tumultuous last few years.

“There was a time when the United Way and its efforts to raise funds was the primary, go-to charity that everyone supported,” George Bell said Friday. “I’d like to see us get back to that place where we’re highly regarded and good stewards of the donations persons have trusted the organization with.”

Bell, a retired health care executive, will step in to lead the organization beginning Aug. 1, the board announced in a press release Friday.

“After reviewing the impressive resumes and candidates for this position, we were delighted to find the right person right here in our local community,” CAUW Board Chair-Elect Stevie Toups said in a prepared statement.

Bell’s appointment comes six months after its last CEO, Darrin Goss Sr., left the non-profit in January to serve as the administrative head of foundation in South Carolina. Goss was the fourth CEO to depart from the organization in the last decade.

The group went through three CEOs from late 2006 through 2012, with fundraising also declining during that period. The United Way raises money and distributes it to charities throughout 10 parishes in the Baton Rouge region.

Bell, a Thibodaux native, once served as the administrator of Baton Rouge General — Mid City and has been an active board member on several Baton Rouge nonprofits. He was recently named the 2016 Medical Professional of the Year Award by the Mu Zeta Chapter of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, a news release states.

The 1981 Hall of Fame graduate of Nicholls State University was also the recipient of the Camelot College Community Award of Excellence.

“Not only is George eminently capable, but he brings to the role a set of intangibles that will be exceedingly valuable to the United Way and its new impact model,” Adam Knapp, BRAC president and CEO, said in the news release. “George is truly adept at creating goal-oriented strategies that maximize talents of everyone on his team. While he’s decisive, he’s also very democratic in terms of inviting input and collaboration.”

In his interview with The Advocate Friday, Bell said the organization will continue to dole out funding through its controversial “Impact Model,” which it implemented in April.

The new system allowed any agency in the community vying for United Way funding to apply through a competitive process in which the only agencies awarded donations were the ones the fit into five community-defined priority areas.

The new system opened the door for 18 new nonprofits and 33 past partners to receive $4.7 million this year, while 11 organizations that have depended on its funding in the past had to find new sources of money.

“Now that those funds have been distributed, the next part is to hold them accountable for delivering the results they said they would deliver,” Bell said Friday. “I want to bring the United Way back to a position in the community where it can serve as the go-to, not-for-profit agency for all the nonprofits in the community.”

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