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Arlington'Bridges to Independence' CEO announces departure

‘Bridges to Independence’ CEO announces departure

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Next month will bring a changing of the guard at Arlington-based Bridges to Independence, as CEO Sam Kelly relocates out of the area, ending 16 years of service with the organization, including the top staff post for the past six.

“Sam’s leadership at Bridges has been integral in the organization’s growth and success,” said Evan Lacopo, the social-safety-net organization’s board chair. “He led Bridges in our merger last year with the Bonder and Amanda Johnson Community Development Corp., ensuring the vital programs that serve our community’s most vulnerable residents continued to operate through the pandemic. The board is grateful for his dedication and service to Bridges and the Arlington community, and we wish him well.”

Over the years, Kelly served Bridges (formerly the Arlington-Alexandria Coalition for the Homeless) successively as children’s case manager, program director, deputy director and director.

Under his leadership, in 2012, Bridges to Independence launched a youth-development program that consistently graduates 100 percent of eligible high-school seniors and supports them in enrolling to college or a technical program of their choice. He also led the organization through a merger during the height of the pandemic, which expanded the organization’s reach and moved programming beyond homeless services to an expanded vision that focuses on ending systemic poverty.


“I am incredibly proud of the work of Bridges, and am thankful to have had the opportunity to serve,” Kelly said in an e-mail to staff. “While the need remains, I leave knowing that Bridges is strong, our impact vital and our community compassionate.”

The organization’s board of directors has named Brian O’Neill to serve as the interim CEO while the search for a permanent successor takes place. A former board member and treasurer of the organization, O’Neill has served as general manager of the College Funding Coach and president and chief financial officers of DeepMile Networks LLC.

More information on the CEO search will be available at https://bridges2.org/who-we-are/careers-2/.

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