Vice President, Expansion and Mission Advancement
Cary Ombres’ Best Buddies International journey began in high school by engaging in the local school-based friendship program. This pivotal experience fueled his passion for working with individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, propelling him to earn a Bachelor’s degree in Family, Youth, and Community Sciences from the University of Florida. Subsequently, he pursued a Master’s degree in Leadership from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.
Entering Best Buddies in 2010 as the Program Manager in Orlando, Florida, Cary quickly demonstrated his ability to cultivate connections with teacher advisors, student leaders, parent volunteers, and community members. Success in hosting impactful programmatic events prompted his promotion to Program Supervisor for Central Florida in 2012. This was followed by a promotion to Director of Programs in 2013 in which he oversaw initiatives throughout the State of Florida.
As Director of Programs, Cary managed a 15-member program staff and was pivotal in launching the Palm Beach office in 2013. Leading efforts to standardize stewardship initiatives, boost engagement in Friendship Walk events, and implement uniform program trainings, Cary fostered growth from 136 to over 200 school-based chapters statewide.
In 2016, Cary assumed oversight of the Jobs program in Florida, managing teams in Miami, and Broward while launching the program in Orlando. Cary’s successful fundraising development efforts, including corporate partnerships and grant awards, expanded the Florida Jobs program to new markets in Palm Beach and Tampa.
In 2019, Cary became the Senior Director of Foundations for Best Buddies International to develop the organization’s strategic approach to securing domestic funding. Throughout 2019-2023, he oversaw a grant-writing team, that secured $17.6 million in grant funding for the organization. In 2021, Cary’s role was expanded to include the organization’s strategic expansion into new states, successfully launching and supporting Best Buddies in multiple markets including Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, and Washington. Cary was recognized for his service to the organization as the Employee of the Year in 2022.
Today, Cary is serving as the Vice President of Expansion & Mission Advancement, where he leads the execution of the expansion model in existing Best Buddies countries in addition to overseeing domestic expansion and foundation development. In his current role, Cary develops strategies for sustainable international growth models mirroring domestic success.