Michelle Nunn’s Washington connections and corporate fund-raising ties apparently made the difference in her appointment as Atlanta-based CARE’s new president and CEO.

Nunn, a Democrat defeated by Republican David Perdue in Georgia’s 2014 U.S. Senate race, “has little experience in international development, one focus of CARE USA’s work,” The Wall Street Journal noted in its report on Nunn’s hiring. She will replace Dr. Helene Gayle, a pediatrician who had years of international experience when she came to CARE nine years ago.

But Gayle, who will lead a new nonprofit venture of the management consulting company McKinsey & Co. beginning in July, saw CARE’s funding decline during her tenure, which included the recession. Nunn raised millions of dollars for her Senate campaign, including fund-raisers in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington. The daughter of former Georgia Sen. Sam Nunn also has ties to both political parties through her leadership of the Points of Light Foundation, which has links to former President George H.W. Bush.

CARE USA reported $489.5 million in operating support and revenue in fiscal year 2013, down from $707.8 million in 2008, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing regulatory filings. That included cuts in U.S. government support to $139.6 million in 2013 from $267 million in 2008. 

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