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In Remembrance of Our Friend and Former Colleague Mike Doyle

Published 03/23/2016 by Global Communities

Mike Doyle began working for Global Communities (formerly CHF International) in 1985 and served as President and CEO for 17 years, overseeing tremendous growth and revitalization of the organization.
It is with great sadness that Global Communities announces the passing of former President and CEO Mike Doyle. Mike passed away after a seven-year battle with prostate cancer at the age of 75.

Mike first began his illustrious career at Global Communities in June 1985, when he joined what was then called the Cooperative Housing Foundation (CHF) to work as Country Director for Costa Rica. For seven years, he managed the successful cooperative Neighborhood Improvement and Jobs Program in partnership with local cooperatives and credit unions.

In 1992, after the resignation of former president James Upchurch, the Board of Trustees asked Mike to step up as President and CEO at a time when the organization was facing extensive challenges. With major institutional donors, especially USAID, moving away from CHF’s traditional areas of expertise such as housing, cooperatives and urban development, and operating in just eight countries, CHF appeared to have very limited prospects.

Mike immediately got to work, and began to move CHF to diversify both its programming and its funding sources. Mike drove CHF’s entry into development finance, including beginning a housing microfinance program in Gaza which still operates today as Ryada and Vitas Palestine. As a result of programs like these, Global Communities now runs the largest network of lending programs in the Middle East. He oversaw CHF’s move into post-conflict work, first in Guatemala in 1996, from which CHF developed its core Participatory Action for Community Enhancement Methodology; and under Mike’s leadership, CHF began working in post-disaster environments after Hurricane Mitch in Central America, which led to CHF’s global reputation in shelter and livelihoods.

Throughout the 1990s and 2000s, Mike revitalized the organization. From post-conflict Iraq to tsunami-struck Indonesia, from the West Bank to Haiti, and from Colombia to South Africa, under Mike’s leadership CHF grew and developed its areas of expertise to become a truly global organization, yet one which retained the community at its heart. By the time of Mike’s retirement in 2010, CHF had expanded to operate in 27 countries.

During his time as President and CEO, Mike traveled extensively to support CHF’s programs around the world. He visited more than 75 countries during 266 trips and spent 1,411 days on the road. Outside work, Mike also spent his life on the move. A resident of Annapolis, Mike was passionate about sailing and split his time between being on the water and restoring classic Porsches. Mike never liked to slow down: he celebrated his 73rd birthday by taking a 1933 Ford Roadster to 173mph on the Bonneville Salt Flats.

Global Communities President and CEO David Weiss said: “I had the privilege of working with Mike for more than eight years, and during that time what I witnessed was truly inspiring. His nearly two decades of leadership helped guide our organization through dramatic changes and prepared it to tackle the development challenges of the new millennium.  He built – almost from the ground up – one of the most successful global development organizations today; and, most importantly, he helped countless communities and individuals across the globe lift themselves out of poverty and improve their lives and livelihoods. But beyond his professional role as a colleague, Mike was a friend. He was full of life and spirit, passion and compassion. I will sorely miss our conversations together, and I have no doubt that everyone lucky enough to have met Mike feels the same way.”

All of us at Global Communities extend our deepest condolences to Mike’s wife Blair, sons Alden and Morgan, and his five grandchildren.

Mike’s family has asked that in his memory contributions be made to either the Virgil, Minnie, Melvin and Madalene Scott Scholarship Fund or Hospice of the Chesapeake. Please view photos below of Mike Doyle throughout the years at CHF International: