Fagans to lead United Senior Services

She will leave Center City Association after four years as its executive director.

Fagans will become the organization’s executive director March 18, after four years as the head of Springfield’s Center City Association.

With 95 employees and a $4.1 million annual budget, the organization formerly called Elderly United operates a wide range of social, nutritional and transportation services, making 15,000 service contacts annually.

Services include everything from a travel program to homemaker and meal delivery that help chronically ill seniors continue to live in their homes. It also keeps seniors active and contributing members of the community through the Retired Senior Volunteer Program.

Major funding sources are federal grants and a local senior services levy, supplemented by support from other local social service agencies.

Fagans called it an honor to become part of an organization she says is “well run, well respected” and already is “very effective at delivering services to a large population.”

United Senior Services Board President Darrell Kitchen said over a three-month period a highly involved search committee saw several strengths in Fagans.

“She’s always worked in mission-driven organizations,” he said.

“Collaboration’s going to be a very important part of our future,” he added, and Fagans work at Center City “has involved many business relationships and not-for-profit organizations.”

Kitchen also cited Fagans’ experience in urban studies and architecture, including consulting work in which she helped a community think through every aspect of serving its seniors.

“We know we have challenges with space,” he said.

Operationally, Kitchen said, Fagans will be called help the organization’s already strong staff to “adjust and adapt to new things that come on board with limited resources.”

Fagans agreed, saying there’s a particular challenge to meet the needs of two different senior communities.

“The baby boomers, who are recent retirees, have a very different picture of what retirement looks like,” she said, one that’s more active.

Meanwhile, older seniors in frail health will continue to need programs to help maintain their health and keep them in their homes.

Said Fagans, “United Senior Services has been and will continue to be an advocate for seniors.”

Fagans said she will work to get up to speed with the planning and research that’s been done on new facilities.

Elizabeth Alexander, who chairs the Center City Association Board, called Fagans a wonderful person who did a phenomenal job.

“Forming and building relationships is definitely her strength,” Alexander said. “Also, her organizational skills are phenomenal.”

Alexander said her board will work with Fagans to consider its immediate future.

“We’re obviously looking for a replacement” Alexander said, but the board is considering naming an interim director before making a long-term leadership choice.

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