Mike Weinstein again chosen to run Kids Hope Alliance

City’s former CFO hired as group’s acting CEO to fill vacuum created by Horner resignation

Composite photo of Mike Weinstein and exterior of Kids Hope Alliance HQ
Composite photo of Mike Weinstein and exterior of Kids Hope Alliance HQ (WJXT 2020)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – For the second time in three years, Mike Weinstein has been selected to run the organization in charge of city youth programs.

This time, Weinstein will lead Kids Hope Alliance while Chief Executive Officer Joe Peppers remains on administrative leave pending the outcome of a city investigation.

Weinstein, who led the group temporarily after its formation, begins work as acting CEO on March 2.

He will be the third person to lead Kids Hope Alliance in roughly seven months. He replaces Donnie Horner, the chief operating officer and acting CEO who resigned earlier this month to take a job in the nonprofit sector. Horner was tapped to run the group with Peppers out of the picture.

A message left with the KHA was not immediately returned Tuesday.

In response to News4Jax questions, Mayor Lenny Curry issued a statement through a spokesperson, expressing confidence in the hire.

“I am confident in the Board’s ability to appoint the right person for the Acting CEO position, and believe that Mr. Weinstein, a long time and trusted government official, will bring strong leadership to KHA during his tenure,” the mayor said.

The KHA is a city-run organization that provides programs and resources to help under-served youth. It was formed in 2017 as the city merged the Jacksonville Children’s Commission and Jacksonville Journey.

Weinstein initially led the group on an interim basis before Peppers, one of the group’s original board members, resigned so that he could apply for the role of chief executive officer. Peppers got the job, but he was placed on leave in August 2019 amid an investigation by the Office of Inspector General.

Details of the nature of the city’s investigation have not been made public.

News of the investigation spread on the heels of a Florida Times-Union report that Peppers said he felt pressured by Mayor Curry’s office to steer grant funding to certain groups. The mayor’s staff denied that allegation, saying no one pressured Peppers to do anything unethical.

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