President & CEO
Little Friends, Inc
Location: DuPage County
Year Founded: 1965
Industry Group Specific: Nonprofit, Social Services
After 30 years running three different manufacturing companies, Mike Briggs retired in December 2015. Within days of ending his business career, he was asked to join the Board of Directors of Little Friends and within 14 months, he stepped in as the President and CEO.
Little Friends, Inc. helps children, adults and their families with autism and intellectual/developmental disabilities who need support. With a foundation based upon providing dignity and respect for the individual, the organization strives to improve communication skills, life skills, develop independence and confidence.
Under Briggs’ leadership, the operation went from losing money annually to performing with a modest surplus. “While the operations were being addressed, the other factor that is important to all nonprofits is fundraising,” said Briggs. “We realized that to improve financial support from donations, we had to do a better job of telling our story to the communities we served.”
Since increasing these efforts, the nonprofit has raised more than $2 million, which is about four times than what it was raising six years ago. His vision for the organization includes being recognized as one of the premier providers of services in the State of Illinois by expanding the services it provides while continuing to provide children and parents, through direct services and alliance partners, the most robust offering of clinical and research support in the field of autism.
“I have the privilege of representing an organization that does incredible work for the children, adults and families that we serve,” said Briggs. “It is a privilege to get to wake up every morning and know the work one does helps individuals and their families overcoming challenges or just have the peace of mind knowing their loved one is being well supported and taken care of.”
Recognizing that he doesn’t do the heavy lifting that so many of his employees do in their care of those the organization works with, Briggs said that he gets the opportunity to tell the nonprofit’s story to the community so that others know of the impact of the work. “I think of this part of my job as a gift I have been lucky enough to receive,” he said.
Briggs said that he has always believed that each day provides an opportunity to improve and get better at what you do. “I really love what I do,” he said. “I get to practice everything that I learned in the for-profit sector and apply these lessons in a manner that helps individuals and their families with services they need.”
For transforming an organization that impacts the community as a whole, Briggs has been named a titan.
I'm not so sure it is a superpower, but I really love what I do. I get to practice everything that I learned in the "for profit sector" and apply these lessons in a manner that helps individuals and their families with services they need. It is a privilege to get to do what I do today!