Ann Kalass has served as the Chief Executive Officer of Starfish Family Services since 2007. Ann brings a passion for children and families to her work, believing in the inherent potential and right of all people to succeed educationally and economically in our community. She is driven by the gross inequities in our educational and social systems that many families face and which Starfish helps families overcome. As CEO, she is responsible for strategic planning, fund development, board development, fiscal management, and program and organizational development for the $40 million private, non-profit agency.
In this role, Ann has led a period of unprecedented strategic growth (over 300% growth in revenue), by defining and strengthening the agency’s core competencies in early childhood development, clinical services, and family support programs. Ann has rebuilt the agency’s leadership team, worked with the board of directors to develop and implement three, three-year strategic plans, and built new community alliances and partnerships.
In March 2015, the Aspen Institute named Kalass as a member of the 2015 Class of Ascend Fellows, placing her in a group of 21 national leaders from a range of sectors who bring breakthrough ideas to build economic security, educational success, and health and well-being for low-incomes families in the United States.
Under Kalass’ direction, Starfish has dramatically grown the organization’s clinical and early childhood divisions. She has strengthened the agency’s focus on creating positive outcomes for children aged zero to five. Major national and local foundations including Kresge, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the McGregor Fund, and United Way have made significant investments in Starfish. By 2014, 94% of Inkster children leaving Starfish’s preschool programs for kindergarten were ready for school success.
In 2014, Starfish was named as the lead agency in a $75 million, 5-year initiative as part of a national Birth to Five Pilot from the Office of Head Start, to serve 1,000 Detroit children under age five annually in some of the city’s most vulnerable neighborhoods. Starfish is leading a collaborative of long-standing social service organizations determined to work together to rebuild the system of care and supports for Detroit children.
Kalass has more than 20 years of management and leadership experience in the profit and non-profit sectors, including 13 years at Ford Motor Company prior to joining Starfish.
Kalass volunteers in leadership capacities in causes important to her – specifically, education and healthcare. In 2014, she was elected to the Northville Public School District Board for a four year term. She formerly served on the Oakwood Healthcare System Board.
Kalass earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Pennsylvania and her MBA from the Tuck School at Dartmouth College. In 2009, Ann received a certificate from Harvard Business School’s Strategic Perspectives on Nonprofit Leadership program.
Ann and her husband Scott reside in Northville with their two daughters.