Contact: Mike Lipscomb
IndependenceFirst Board Chair
IndependenceFirst President & CEO Announces Retirement
Dear Friends of IndependenceFirst:

For more than three decades, Lee Schulz has served as the President and CEO of IndependenceFirst. He has steadfastly steered our mission to effectively facilitate empowerment of individuals with disabilities. It is with mixed emotions that we share with you Lee’s plan to retire on the first of next month.

When Lee started, IndependenceFirst had a $260,000 annual operating budget.  He has grown it into a multi-dimensional organization with a $31 million budget. Under his leadership, Lee has had IndependenceFirst help thousands of individuals with disabilities be able to live with dignity and independence.  He also led the move into our current, owned facility, and it is a model of accessibility. 

Our Chief Operating Officer, Deb Langham, will become the Interim President and CEO until the recruitment of a new President and CEO. Lee and Deb have worked closely together for 20 years. This will ensure program and operational continuity until we hire a permanent President and CEO.

Next year, we will be celebrating our 40th year anniversary and are excited for the next chapter of IndependenceFirst.  We cannot thank Lee enough for his dedication, passion, enthusiasm and motivation over the past 32 years.  Please join me and our Board of Directors in sincerely thanking Lee for all he has accomplished in this role and congratulate him on this new chapter in his life. 

IndependenceFirst is first and foremost about the people we serve, their families and their communities. Our commitment to these principles and our passionate belief in the abilities of all people drive us to continued growth, innovation, and success. If you have any questions or concerns during this transition process, please do not hesitate to reach out to me directly at

Mike Lipscomb
Chair, Board of Directors
About IndependenceFirst: Metro Milwaukee's FIRST nonprofit resource when people have questions regarding access and disability. We offer more than 20 programs and services for people with disabilities of all kinds, in all age groups. Over 50 percent of internal staff, management and board members are individuals with disabilities.

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