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After 7 years at the helm of Louisville Urban League, Sadiqa Reynolds set to step down

022321 Sadiqa Reynolds_4
Louisville Urban League President and CEO Sadiqa Reynolds announces that the $10 million funding gap in the construction of the Norton Healthcare Sports & Learning Center has been filled by a unique partnership between nine community banks.

Sadiqa Reynolds, who led the Louisville Urban League through the 2020 racial justice protests and the building of a multi-million dollar track and field facility in the Russell neighborhood, will leave the nonprofit in October.

The Louisville Urban League announced Reynolds’ planned departure in a statement Tuesday and said she’ll be taking a CEO role with an unnamed New York City-based organization. Reynolds, who’s originally from New York, is a former Jefferson County District Court judge and became the first woman to lead the LUL in 2015. She’s expected to continue living in Louisville full-time.

Reynolds was not immediately available to comment.

LUL Board of Directors Chair Lorri Lee praised Reynolds’ leadership and said her impact on Louisville and Kentucky has been “tremendous.”

“The Louisville Urban League is now a transformational organization with a staff second to none and operational infrastructure built to sustain that transformation for generations to come,” Lee said in a statement. “That is the hallmark of truly great leadership. That is Sadiqa Reynolds’ legacy.”

Established in 1921, the LUL funds programs and projects that aim to inch the city closer to social and economic equality among residents. Much of its work is focused on job placement, leadership training and housing. The LUL is the state’s oldest housing counseling agency certified by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Under Reynolds’ tenure, the League turned an abandoned, contaminated lot in west Louisville into a $53 million track and field facility and learning campus. The complex has already gained national recognition, with USA Track & Field recently announcing it will host five youth and adult championships in the city over the next two years.

 

In 2020, Reynolds was a prominent figure in the racial justice protests that broke out after the police killing of Louisville resident Breonna Taylor. She spoke at and led various events and marches. The LUL also received an $8 million grant to put together a plan, dubbed “A Path Forward,” focused on eliminating racial inequities in the city.

The LUL board noted that over the last seven years the organization has served 3,725 kids through its after-school and summer programs. The organization also aided 2,154 people in getting their criminal records expunged, saving them $1.3 million in attorney’s fees and removing barriers to employment and voting.

The League’s Board of Directors has appointed a search committee to find Reynolds’ replacement over the next four months. They said Reynolds has agreed to serve in an advisory capacity after she formally steps down in October.

Roberto Roldan is the City Politics and Government Reporter for WFPL. Email Roberto at rroldan@lpm.org.