The San Antonio AIDS Foundation announced the appointment of an interim executive director via a posting on the home page of their web site on April 30.
The SAAF board gave no reason for firing former executive director David Ewell on April 20, other than to say in a letter to employees, “In order to take full advantage of these opportunities to further SAAF’s mission and best serve our clients, the Board of Directors has determined new leadership is needed.”
The April 30 posting came as a surprise to SAAF employees and the community alike:
The Board of Directors of the San Antonio AIDS Foundation is happy to announce that Mr. Jack Downey has accepted the role of Interim Executive Director while an executive search is conducted for a permanent Executive Director.
Mr. Downey brings over twenty-three years of nonprofit leadership experience at the local, state and national levels. He will assume his duties on Tuesday, May 5, 2015.
Two employees from SAAF told Out In SA that there had been no announcement made to the staff regarding Downey’s appointment.
Out In SA contacted the public relations department of SAAF but was told the foundation had no comment.
Through other sources, Out In SA was able to find out that Downey is president of Downey Associates LLC and previously worked with the San Antonio Symphony, the Children’s Shelter and Christian Senior Services.
Starting in September of 2014, Downey and one of his employees conducted a series of seminars for the SAAF board on “strengthening non-profits and boards.”
Downey and SAAF board chair Anne Marie Simmons are friends who both serve on the board of the Bexar County Master Gardners.
Jill Rips, deputy director of SAAF, was offered the interim position on April 21 but declined it on April 27 because she felt she could not do the job and attend to her current responsibilities as well.
A Facebook page, “Bring David Back” has been started by Ewell’s supporters who also staged a protest in front of the SAAF building on April 27.