Catholic Charities executive director appointed to Florida Senate Advisory Council

Gary Tester, executive director of Catholic Charities of Central Florida, has been appointed to the Florida Faith-based and Community-based Advisory Council (FBCB). His term serving on behalf of the Florida Senate begins immediately and runs through January 2023.

The FBCB promotes cooperation between the State Government and Florida’s faith-based and community-based organizations in order to deliver services more effectively. The council’s mission is to “facilitate connections to strengthen communities and families in the state of Florida.”

“I am pleased that Mr. Tester has agreed to serve as a Senate appointee to the Faith-based and Community-based Advisory Council,” shared Senate President Bill Galvano. “The Catholic Church is a worldwide leader in empowering and strengthening families and communities through the volunteer work of people of faith.”

The Council, created in 2006, provides recommendations to the governor and legislature and encourages government and the faith-based community to improve social services across the state. There are 25 members from different faith or community-based organizations, foundations, corporations and municipalities. They meet once per quarter each year either in person on via teleconference.

“Gary’s compassion for all God’s people will serve the Lord well in this appointment,” said Bishop John Noonan. “His experience in emergency management and services to provide care for the hungry, homeless, and those in prison, as well as with pilgrims to Central Florida, will richly guide the matters before the FBCB.”

Michael Sheedy, executive director of the Florida Conference of Catholic Bishops, explains: “Gary was chosen because of his keen insight into the needs of vulnerable Floridians and his ability to work well with a range of concerned persons and organizations to address those needs. With the support and assistance of his fellow Catholic Charities directors across Florida he is an ideal member of the FBCB. We have every confidence he and Catholic Charities will represent Senate President Galvano with distinction.”

Tester noted that, “It is an honor to be considered for this opportunity and it is humbling to represent the Diocese of Orlando and Catholic Charities of Central Florida, as well as Catholic Charities of Florida. There is no greater opportunity we have to share the love of Jesus Christ than to care for our neighbors, especially those who are most vulnerable.”

In addition to being executive director of Catholic Charities of Central Florida, he serves as chair of the Board of Directors for Catholic Charities of Florida. He brings more than 35 years of experience working with vulnerable children and families to this advisory council.

[Jennifer Drow, Special to the Florida Catholic – January 9, 2019]

Advocacy & Social Policy Initiatives

CCUSA's Advocacy and Social Policy team advocates for policies that uphold human dignity and promote integral human development. Informed by the experience of local Catholic Charities agencies, the team urges policy makers to encounter the needy and vulnerable in their communities and to create policies which assist and support them.

Learn More