YWCA Delaware names Michelle Basham chief executive officer

January 26, 2014

The Board of Directors of YWCA Delaware has announced that Michelle Basham joined the agency as chief executive officer Jan. 24.

Basham’s experience includes more than 20 years of leadership in the nonprofit and public sectors including leading efforts to redesign human service delivery systems across Minnesota, addressing racial disparities in healthcare delivery, and starting and turning around struggling organizations.

She holds a master's degree in public administration and a law degree, and completed a fellowship at the Humphrey Institute Public Policy Forum, where she did her group work on women and people of color in political leadership.

"We are delighted that Michelle will be the new CEO of the YWCA. She has the passion, experience, and capabilities to lead our organization to even greater results within our community," YWCA Board President Eileen Donnelly said.

Basham’s experience includes founding the first shelter for homeless youth in Minnesota in 1993, an organization that still exists today. She later served in various positions including leading high-level policy initiatives at the Minnesota Department of Human Services; serving as executive director for FamilyWise, an organization that provides comprehensive family strengthening and support services; and providing executive leadership at the largest provider of affordable housing in the Upper Midwest.

She started the MN Runaway & Homeless Youth Coalition and cofounded the Nonprofit Emerging Leaders Academy. She has received numerous awards including the City of Minneapolis Award and the Outstanding Young Minnesotans/Americans from the Jaycees.

In addition to welcoming Basham as CEO, the YWCA Board of Directors announced that Stephanie L. Staats, MPA, has accepted the position of chief operating officer. Staats most recently served as YWCA chief programs officer, leading all community-based programs, advocacy and strategic initiatives. In addition to her previous responsibilities, as COO she will also lead YWCA’s housing programs, community relations and government relations.

YWCA Delaware works to eliminate racism and empower women economically and socially. In 2013, more than 6,000 Delawareans received emergency and transitional housing, financial empowerment and asset building support, college and career preparation, diversity training and racial justice programs. For more information about YWCA Delaware go to, email or call 302-655-0039.