Mary Agee, the longtime president and chief executive of Northern Virginia Family Service, announced her retirement last week, effective June 2015.
Agee has led the nonprofit the past 27 years and has been with the organization since 1972.
NVFS offers a range of human service programs, including Head Start, foster care, health-care access, job training and a family shelter, for communities in Arlington, Fairfax, Prince William and Loudoun counties as well as Alexandria, Manassas and Manassas Park. It has 350 employees, 3,600 volunteers and an operating budget of $32 million.
“I still love my job,” said Agee who wrote NVFS’s first federal grant application in 1978. “I told the board chair, if I don’t set a date, somebody’s going to come in with a wheelchair and have to get me out of the office.”
Agee said the reason she made the announcement 11 months before stepping down was to give the board plenty of time to find her successor and plan the transition.
She has no plans for what she’ll do after she leaves, other than spend time with her new grandson. She said she is leaving herself open to the possibilities.
“I really don’t want to pursue anything or think about anything until I have left here,” she said. “I just don’t want to be distracted his year.”
One of her proudest moments at NVFS was helping create a survivors’ fund after the Sept. 11, 2001 attack on the Pentagon.
“That was really an honor, a privilege, to be asked to do that,” she said. “That will always be a very special time, a very difficult time.”
Agee won’t be coasting toward retirement. She intends to leave the organization on secure financial footing and will be working hard to retire the debt on SERVE Family Shelter and Food Distribution Center in Manassas. The former Securing Emergency Resources through Volunteer Efforts merged with NVFS in 2009. She also has already begun work on the group’s May 8 gala, in hopes of raising $1 million.
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