Congratulations to Charlie Stokes on His Upcoming Retirement

There are times when words are simply not sufficient to convey your appreciation. As chair of the CDC Foundation’s board of directors, I find myself having those thoughts today as Charlie Stokes announced his retirement, which is effective at the end of calendar year 2015. For those of you who are readers of this blog, you will recall that Charlie is the first and only president and CEO in the CDC Foundation’s history. He is also a pioneer in public-private partnerships to advance public health protection.

Charlie StokesOver his 20-year career at the CDC Foundation, Charlie has been a tremendous leader. Not many people are able to start an entity from scratch and build it into something that makes such a difference in the lives of people in the United States and throughout the world—but Charlie through his work with CDC and staff at the CDC Foundation has been able to do just that. Today the CDC Foundation is working on more than 250 programs with CDC to help advance the agency’s work in infectious disease, chronic disease, emergency response and a multitude of other vital programs.

Charlie is not only a great leader, but he is kind and humble. He always works to put the public’s health first; public accolades are very far down on his priority list, if they are there at all. While we on the board of directors are sad to see Charlie step down from his leadership post, we are all pleased that this transition will allow him to spend all-important time with his wife (Laurie), three sons (Matt, Josh and Jon) and their families, particularly his two grandchildren.

From a personal perspective, I am extremely grateful for all that Charlie has given to the CDC Foundation—his time, his many talents, his sweat equity—to further the cause of public health that he cares so deeply about. And I appreciate him giving us eight months to allow our board of directors to form a search committee to find a new president and CEO so that person will be able to join the CDC Foundation before year end.

Before he retires, the CDC Foundation’s board of directors will provide opportunities to more officially recognize Charlie and his many accomplishments. Until then, I hope that you will join me in thanking him for his outstanding service to the CDC Foundation, CDC and to advancing the public’s health in this country and around the globe.


Doug Nelson is chair of the CDC Foundation’s board of directors and the retired president and CEO of the Annie E. Casey Foundation.