CEO Rose Hanley Announces Retirement

Twenty years. They can go by in an instant, and yet at the same time, seem so long ago. It’s been 20 years since I walked into a city school and my heart was changed forever. On that day, I believe I found the answer to a question I’d been asking God: “Where do you need me?” I loved being a wife and mother. I loved my job, my life. But there was a missing piece, a stirring I couldn’t explain…until I looked into the eyes of the students that day, and I knew.

Twenty years later, I know the timing is right for me to hand the reins to a new leader, and so, at the end of 2021, I will retire as CEO of The Little Bit Foundation. Our Board of Directors has assembled a succession committee to conduct a comprehensive search for a new CEO, and I trust they will find the right leader to carry forward the promise we made to the St. Louis community all those years ago.

I can’t fully describe how grateful I am for you, for this time in my life. I’ve had the opportunity to meet, get to know and serve alongside some of the most caring, courageous people working for change or simply wanting to make a difference in a student’s day. I’ve talked with families, teachers and school staff and heard their stories of faith and determination to see their kids thrive. I’ve hugged and held the hands of students with the brightest smiles, the biggest hearts, boldest ambitions and most amazing talents! I will carry all of it in my heart forever.

Together, we have built an organization on a foundation of love and respect and with a valuable role in creating more equitable learning environments. A change in CEO does not change the purpose and promise of Little Bit:  to be a source of stability and support for students in our most marginalized communities, so that they can realize their academic potential and greatest dreams for the future. I have committed to working with the new CEO as long as is necessary for a smooth transition and am confident in the strength of our leadership at every level of Little Bit to help us through this process and be good stewards of the values and vision that we hold dear.

There will be time for more reflection as we celebrate Little Bit’s 20th anniversary. So many memories, milestones and people to thank! At the same time, there is so much more work to be done. One of my goals this year is to complete our $8.4 million Impact Campaign, which will set up our Project Graduation model for long-term success. So far, we have raised 85% of our goal. You can find more information on the campaign here, or I’d love to speak to you about it if we have not already.

I’m not sure where God will lead me from here – maybe full-time Grandma for awhile! – but I am certain there are many meaningful, blessed days ahead for The Little Bit Foundation.

Gratefully yours,