President & CEO
Boys and Girls Clubs of Dane County
Location: Dane County, WI
Michael Johnson was raised by a single mother with a limited income in the Chicago projects, and today he holds an MBA and certificates from several highly acclaimed universities, including Cornell and Harvard.
His mother died when he was 23 years old, and the local Boys & Girls Club raised funds to help his family. Since then, he has made it his life’s work to help underserved people, especially youth and their families, to have a better future. As the president and CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of Dane County, Johnson can live that mission every day.
“Our mission is to inspire and empower all young people, especially those who need us the most, to reach their full potential as productive, responsible and caring adults,” Johnson said. “To remain influential and an industry leader, I will keep the focus on the kids and continue to raise an abundance of resources and support for them in the Southern Wisconsin area.”
During Johnson’s 12 years at the Club, the nonprofit has developed several strategic plans that resulted in more than 22,000 donors contributing more than $50 million dollars to the Club. He increased the Club’s net assets from $4 million to $25 million. The surge in funding allowed the Club to quadruple the number of children and families served; quadruple the number of associates; grow its operating budget by 395%; expand its operations in cities such as Fitchburg, Madison, Verona and Sun Prairie and acquire the Boys & Girls Club of Walworth County.
The Club also created the largest public/private partnership in the Madison School District while investing more than $18 million in direct resources to local high schools, resulting in more than 4,400 students graduating from high school at an average rate of 97%. The Club also hired more than a dozen career and college specialists who work with colleges and universities across the country and is currently conducting a campaign to raise $35 million for a regional workforce center to introduce young people to trades.
Johnson’s work has been featured in The New York Times, Wisconsin State Journal and dozens of national and local publications. He also received the Boys & Girls Clubs of America Heart & Soul Award, the highest honor among Club executives. He was named Man of the Year by Madison 365, appointed by the governor of Wisconsin to the Vel Phillip’s Taskforce, named the 2022 InBusiness Magazine Executive of the Year and received the 2022 MLK Humanitarian Award.
Michael Johnson was once a rapper. This was announced during the An Evening with Gladys Knight Concert benefitting Boys and Girls Clubs of Dane County after his son, MKE's musical performance.