BROOKSVILLE — A popular Bible verse says that with God, all things are possible, and for Mid Florida Community Services Inc. chief executive Michael Georgini, it certainly is.
Rocking peacefully in a chair outside of the Chinsegut Hill Retreat and Conference Center, Georgini recently reflected on his 44 years of serving the central Florida region and his 42 years as chief executive of MFCS. On June 30, Georgini will retire from the nonprofit as chief operating officer Mat Kline takes his place. Georgini said he will stay on as a consultant up to a year after his retirement.
“My greatest accomplishment here I think was making God CEO of this company,” Georgini said. “In doing so, everything else fell into place.”
For decades, the country has been fighting a war against poverty and Georgini has been at the helm of the Brooksville-based nonprofit, expanding its programs to surrounding counties such as Citrus, Lake, Pasco, Polk, Sumter, and Volusia. MFCS offers supportive programs from children’s advocacy and family self-sufficiency to senior services. As a member of the National Community Action Partnership and the Community Action Network, the MFCS website states that it aims to strengthen partnerships, mobilize resources, and provide integrated services that promote self-sufficiency for individuals and families in the communities in which they live.
As time goes on, MFCS has weathered the storms tossed its way, whether it was during former President Ronald Reagan’s administration, when the nonprofit had to cut 35% of its staff, or battling a global pandemic that displaced many employees across the state. When COVID-19 impacted businesses and residents alike, Georgini said MFCS partnered with local restaurants to serve 19,000 meals a week to the elderly on their waiting list living between Hernando Beach and Daytona Beach.
“Sometimes there are little political roadblocks that are thrown out, but eventually they go away,” Georgini said. “We get a lot of local support, a tremendous amount, as far as from our commissions and our county administrators. They help us in any way they can.”
One of Georgini’s proudest achievements, he said, includes helping Volusia County retain its Head Start program after the commission wanted to get rid of it in 2000. MFCS developed a partnership with the county’s Head Start program after running similar successful programs in Hernando and Sumter counties. With the help of a grant, MFCS was able to bring in another 200 employees to run the program in Volusia.
In Polk County, the county was planning to give up its congregant meals and meals on wheels program. Georgini said he met with the organization in charge for MFCS to take on that contract and was able to help feed those residents in need.
A year ago, MFCS entered into a license agreement with the Hernando County Commission to operate the Chinsegut Hill Retreat and Conference Center. Georgini said he hopes to see more people use the retreat this year, as any funds made go directly back into programs that are serving the people of Hernando County.
“God brought me here for a reason to grow a company and serve people,” Georgini said. “If I can change one person’s life and make a difference, then my job is complete. There is no telling how many lives that the company has affected and made a change as far as education and self-sufficiency.”
With retirement coming up later this year, Georgini said he feels a bit of both gladness and sadness to be leaving. For the previous three years, he has been mentoring Kline for the role of chief executive and looks forward to seeing what his leadership will do for the nonprofit.
“I see it’s time for new leadership and fresh water,” Georgini said. “If you look at a pond out in the woods and it hadn’t rained in weeks, a lot of time that pond will get a green slime on it. After two or three good rains you go back to that pond, and it’s clear and you have to add fresh water. It’s time to add fresh water to the company, and that’s what Mat Kline will be. He will be the new ideas, the new direction that will be coming into this company. I just know that he will take it farther than where we are now.”
To learn more about MFCS and its programs, visit www.mfcs.us.com.