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MJFF Announces Changes In Leadership, New Ceo

NEWYORK, NY — The Michael J. Fox Foundation announced that effective today, Sarah Orsay will assume the position of chief executive officer.  Founding CEO Deborah W. Brooks will remain with the organization full-time, but will transition to a new role as president and co-founder.

The search for a new CEO was prompted by Ms. Brooks’ decision to relocate with her family in mid-2007. As co-founder and president, she will shift her focus from day-to-day oversight of the Foundation to a full-time emphasis on principal-gifts fundraising, advising on strategic and programmatic direction, and serving as an ambassador to new and existing external audiences. Ms. Brooks will continue to report directly to the Board of Directors.

As CEO, Ms. Orsay will be chiefly responsible for leading development of the Foundation’s strategic plan and overseeing its execution in four primary areas: fundraising, research investment and prioritization, communications and organizational growth. Working closely with the Foundation’s senior management team, she will provide day-to-day management and oversight of all Foundation activities. In addition, she will oversee financial management and controls, ensuring that the Foundation is fiscally sound and well-funded.  Ms. Orsay will report to the Board of Directors.

Ms. Orsay comes to the Foundation from Goldman, Sachs & Co., where she was Managing Director and Head of the Endowment and Foundation Coverage Group in New York. Inspired in part by a chance meeting several years ago with Ms. Brooks, who also transitioned to the nonprofit sector from a successful banking career at Goldman Sachs, Ms. Orsay had been seeking the right opportunity to make a career change to the not-for-profit sector.

“It was clear to me that the Foundation is an environment as enterprising, challenging, exciting, and personally fulfilling as the career from which I am transitioning,” said Ms. Orsay. “I’m excited to apply my energy and experience to help lead this unique organization. And as someone with a PD connection in my own family, I have firsthand knowledge of the urgent need for improved treatments and a cure.”

“Sarah has demonstrated enormous energy and enthusiasm for this position, and she has a proven track record of success in fast-paced, high-pressure environments,” said Ms. Brooks. “I, as well as the Foundation’s entire staff, look forward to working closely with her on meeting the challenges — and maximizing the opportunities — that face us in the future.”

“This is a win-win for the Foundation,” said MJFF founder Michael J. Fox. “Debi’s new role gives us ongoing access to her strategic vision. Her sense of urgency and dedication to the cause will continue to be an inspiration to our Foundation and the Parkinson’s community at large. In Sarah, we’re thrilled to have found a leader with the rare combination of skills required to continue driving toward our mission. Debi and Sarah will make a terrific team.”

More information is available at the Foundation’s Web site,

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