For only the seventh time in our storied 43-year history, Meda is announcing a new president and CEO.
Northwest Area Foundation Vice President of Programs and Chief Program Officer Gary Cunningham is the newly appointed president and CEO, succeeding Yvonne Cheung Ho who retires June 30th after helming the organization for 15 successful years.
Cunningham will assume his duties August 18th. Meda Senior Director of Consulting Services and Financing, Jan Jordet, will act as interim President and CEO starting July 1st.
The Meda board of directors is excited to have a leader of Mr. Cunningham’s caliber take the helm of this organization at this critical juncture.
“Meda is primed for transformational change, and with this appointment, the Twin Cities’ business community is stepping up to the plate to address racial disparities through Meda” said Doug Eden, Meda board chair and CEO search committee chair. “Gary is the leader who will take Meda to the next level in its ongoing mission to strengthen the minority business community in Minnesota and beyond.”
As those closest to Meda and the Twin Cities business community know, the issues of racial disparities are complex and will require a multifaceted sustainable approach to be successfully addressed; one key element in addressing the disparities throughout the country is the development of business opportunities.
The facts speak for themselves:
• Meda’s clients hire minority employees at an average rate of over 40 percent
• Over the past 43 years, Meda has provided thousands of jobs through its assistance of approximately 19,500 entrepreneurs of color
• Meda has provided assistance for the start-up of more than 490 businesses
• An investment in Meda pays off. For every one dollar invested, it pays an $11.00 return
“I’m thrilled to join an organization so greatly committed to providing business development solutions and resources to help narrow Minnesota’s racial economic disparities,” said Gary Cunningham, Meda President and CEO-elect. “Meda recognizes that the sustainable growth of even a single high-performing minority-owned company can bring jobs and significant economic
opportunity to an entire community.”
Mr. Cunningham brings a wealth of private, public, nonprofit and governmental experience that will move Meda to the next level of its evolution to build economic opportunity for entrepreneurs of color.
Prior to his work at Northwest Area Foundation, Mr. Cunningham served as the president and chief executive officer for NorthPoint Health & Wellness Center the largest and most successful community health and human service organization in Minnesota.
He served as the director of planning and development for Hennepin County, Minnesota, where he supervised policy development and strategic planning and directed the Hennepin County Housing and Redevelopment Authority.
Mr. Cunningham also served as county administrator and chief executive officer for Scott County, Minnesota;
associate superintendent of Minneapolis Public Schools; and research fellow at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs. In addition, he has held leadership roles with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority, and the City of Minneapolis.
A current member of the Association of Black Foundation Executives, he also sits on the Humphrey School Dean’s Advisory Council, The Center of Policy Studies at Hamline University, the Metropolitan Council’s Community Development Committee as chair, and the board of GenerationNext, a collective impact model to improve student achievement.
Yvonne Cheung Ho’s departure from Meda comes a little more than two weeks from today. As she retires after 21 years at Meda, she is confident the Twin Cities business community is in extremely capable hands.
“For more than 40 years, Meda has successfully worked with the private, public and nonprofit sectors to support entrepreneurs of color to build their businesses and create employment opportunities for their communities. I’ve no doubt Meda will continue to aggressively pursue that mission for 40 more years to come.”