As an organization, WonderRoot’s foundation and mission are grounded in the pursuit of social justice and the power of art to drive change. Following the receipt of accusations that did not reflect the values of WonderRoot, we have taken important steps towards addressing these issues, including conducting an independent investigation and accepting the resignation of our former Executive Director, Chris Appleton.
We have recently completed that investigation and the independent investigator found no evidence of theft or sexual impropriety on the part of our former Executive Director. The investigation — which included dozens of interviews with current and former employees, all signatories of the letter, Board members, and community partners — did find that Appleton repeatedly exhibited unprofessional behavior that did not reflect the ideals of WonderRoot. The investigation did not find that these behaviors were targeted at any specific group or ethnicity. In addition to the investigation, we also conducted a financial review, which revealed no instances of financial misappropriation or impropriety.
As an organization, we sincerely apologize to those who were negatively impacted by these behaviors.
To guide us in our continual evolution and growth as an organization, WonderRoot is announcing that Brian Tolleson has joined as Interim Executive Director, effective immediately. Brian previously served as the Interim CEO of the Center for Civil and Human Rights and has a long track record of strategically leading nonprofit and for-profit organizations through times of change. We are excited to welcome his leadership and expertise to WonderRoot as we move forward.
As a result of the findings and supported by Brian’s appointment, we are making various improvements and changes to our organization to further deliver on the promise and mission of WonderRoot. We remain committed to our mission, are excited for the programs and efforts underway, and appreciate the opportunity to grow, evolve, and continue to serve the arts and Atlanta community.