Catholic Charities CEO Announces Retirement
Vincent Colonno to step down after 11 years with the organization, caps a 48-year career of service.
Albany, NY – Vincent Colonno, Chief Executive Officer of Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Albany, announced that he will retire in July after leading one of the region’s largest and most active private social services organizations for more than a decade.
“I’ve been honored and blessed to serve the people of our region as Catholic Charities CEO,” said Colonno, who has led the area’s largest human service organization since 2011. “It’s been a privilege to work alongside our staff and volunteers as they help people to build safe, stable and healthy lives. I know I am leaving Catholic Charities in capable hands.”
“Vince has been an outstanding leader for this organization,” said Kenneth Raymond, President of the Board of Trustees of Catholic Charities and CEO of Prime Companies. “As CEO, he has carried on a legacy of compassion established by his predecessors, Sister Serena Branson, Sister Maureen Joyce and Sister Charla Commins. His commitment to others is a testament to that legacy and an example to all who work and volunteer for Catholic Charities.”
Catholic Charities provides food, shelter, counseling and other emergency services to residents of its 14-county, 10,000-square-mile service area stretching from Warren to Greene and Otsego to Rensselaer. Staff across Catholic Charities’ 12 agencies work in partnership with an executive team to identify and meet the diverse needs of the people within the entire diocese.
As the social justice arm of the Albany Diocese, Catholic Charities addresses basic needs such as food and shelter as well as more specialized needs like disaster assistance, parenting support and overdose prevention. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Catholic Charities adapted to provide additional domestic violence services, virtual case management, drive-thru food pantries and other vital programs.
Colonno was appointed CEO in 2011, succeeding Sister Charla Commins, CSJ, who served as interim CEO for a year after the death of CEO Sister Maureen Joyce, RSM in 2010. An Albany native, he began his human services career in 1974 at the Albany County Department of Social Services. In 2000, he was appointed the Commissioner for the Albany County Department for Aging before moving back to the County's Social Services Department in 2007, where he served as the County Commissioner.
Under Colonno’s leadership, Catholic Charities expanded its services to address emergent needs as the region was still recovering from the Great Recession. The organization established three new agencies: Catholic Charities Tri-County Services in the Capital Region, Catholic Charities Senior & Caregiver Support Services and Catholic Charities Care Coordination Services, formerly Catholic Charities AIDS Services. Through this expansion, Colonno led the charge to support Capital Region residents, provide care to the senior population across the Diocese, and to support people as they worked through chronic physical and behavioral health problems.
Lynn Glueckert, Chief Program Officer of Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Albany, said, “At Catholic Charities, it is our mission to help people who are vulnerable and living in poverty. Through Vince’s leadership, we have continued to reach our neighbors most in need of our services even as those needs have changed.”
Most recently Colonno headed up Catholic Charities’ No Wrong Door initiative: a $1.2 million project that better connects the vast programs of Catholic Charities and makes services more accessible across the Diocese.
“Whether you come to us from Schoharie or Schodack, you’ll have access to the full breadth of services we offer at Catholic Charities,” Colonno said of No Wrong Door. “If you need food or housing or support through recovery, we will work with you to see those needs are met. At Catholic Charities we welcome people where they’re at and I am immensely proud of that.”
As a part of the project, Catholic Charities established its first-ever Mobile Outreach Vehicle: CC MOVE. CC MOVE became instrumental over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, partnering with the Regional Food Bank to provide over 3 million pounds of food to thousands of residents in the region. CC MOVE guests can speak with on-site case managers and receive additional support as needed.
“We are grateful to Vince for his humble dedication to the mission of Catholic Charities and his commitment to the work of the Gospel in serving the poorest of the poor year after year,” said Bishop Edward B. Scharfenberger of the Diocese of Albany. “Although we will miss his leadership and diligence on the day-to-day operations of Catholic Charities, we know that his ministry will continue. For Vince it was never just a job, but a vocation.”
Catholic Charities has begun a search for Colonno’s successor.
“Vince has expanded upon the vision of his predecessors, and we are now seeking a person of enormous character and ability to continue the vital work of Catholic Charities,” said John Murray, former President of the Board of Trustees, former CEO of Rose & Kiernan, and Managing Director at NFP.
The appointed search committee will begin to review applications in early 2022. More information about the position is available on the Catholic Charities website, https://www.ccrcda.org/information/ceo-listing/.