Dear Gladney Family,
For 132 years, Gladney’s mission has been Creating Bright Futures Through Adoption. During the last few decades, we have seen many changes in the adoption world: international adoption reaching a peak of placements into the U.S. in 2004 and then on a steady decline to this day; domestic infant adoption continuing to be the backbone of our organization, but every day providing new challenges as to how we introduce the option of adoption to an expectant mother; and the need for raising awareness for placing children from foster care continues to grow at a rapid rate. At the core, our mission has remained the same and is reflected in every aspect of our organization, from programming to our wonderful campus; a setting that has provided memories of comfort and joy to so many of our families and children over the years and will continue to do so for generations to come.
However, as our world evolves, we must evolve, too! A few weeks ago, we hosted the Gladney Center board on campus. We concluded our Monday meeting with a deep discussion on the use of our residential home. Over the last decade, the need for the residential home for expectant mothers has declined, and we have been able to serve these clients in their home communities in an equally effective way. Over the past 6 months, we have been evaluating different opportunities for the home and ultimately determined the greatest need in our community is housing for teen and pre-teen girls who are currently living in foster care. Beginning in April, we will open our doors to meet this need in conjunction with Our Community Our Kids (OCOK), the foster placement contract holder in this region of Texas. During this year-long pilot project, we will house up to 15 female youth who are currently in foster care, available for adoption, basic to moderate level of care, and actively seeking adoption. Our success will be measured in many ways, but a primary one will be adoptive placement for the youth. Following the first year, we will evaluate the potential to grow the program to 30 youth (the max capacity of the home). Let me stress that adoption is the ultimate goal, but in the event we can’t find a forever family for each youth, providing teenage normalcy, preparation for life after foster care, and support for healing from their past trauma will be key areas of focus. As more details are finalized, we will share them, but for now, please know a tremendous amount of work has gone into making this decision. I’m confident we will be successful in year one and for many years to come.
This move does not diminish our focus on domestic infant or international adoptions; however, this is a big step for Gladney and a departure from our recent history. For the past 70+ years, we have operated a maternity home on our campus – this is the end of an era. It’s also a return to our roots. We began our story 132 years ago by bringing vulnerable, neglected, and abandoned youth into our home. This step will widen the impact Gladney will have on children and families across Texas and beyond because every child deserves a loving and caring family, and every means every.
Gladney Dad, President, & CEO
Gladney Center for Adoption
This past weekend at Gladney's January Board Meeting, we celebrated the career of Ellen Wilson, Gladney's CFO for 19 years.
As National Volunteer Appreciation month comes to a close, we want to acknowledge three Gladney Board Members who rotated off of the Board this month.
Edna Gladney was an early children's rights advocate. She made the welfare of "unwanted" children the center of her life and personally placed children with adoptive families. Because of her passion and tenacious personality, Mrs. Gladney was named Superintendant of the Texas Children's Home and Aid Society in 1927. She held that position for 33 years.
“Mark Melson is the right man at the right time for Gladney,” said Gladney Chairman of the Board Christopher Dezzi. “Our board has been focusing on all the issues related to future planning and succession. Mark was recently appointed as the Chief Operating Officer for Gladney. His service in that position as well as his work as Vice President for Development proved his solid operational and leadership abilities. We all look forward to Gladney’s next generation of leadership and growth under Mark.”
Topics: Gladney Culture & History
Gladney Appoints Mark Melson as President & CEO
Long-time leader announces retirement; Board lauds Frank Garrott’s leadership tenure saying Gladney positioned well for the future
Gladney Press Release
(FORT WORTH, TX, December 1, 2017)—The Gladney Center of Adoption, a national leader in adoption services for 130 years, announced the appointment of Mark Melson to be the institution’s President and CEO. Gladney’s Board Chairman Christopher Dezzi said Melson’s presence as a current and established Gladney leader offered a unique opportunity for a seamless transition to the position. Frank Garrott, who has an extraordinary record of success furthering the Gladney mission, said he had been contemplating retirement since late summer and informed Dezzi about the decision last month.
In a letter to Gladney’s supporters and staff, Garrott described his 10-year tenure at the organization as a “challenging, wonderful and joyful” period of time.
“It has truly been an honor and privilege to work with everyone in the Gladney family,” said Garrott, “and people are right when they tell me, it’s the best job in the world. “There’s a time for everything, and for me, it’s a time to take up the next challenge and move on to the next chapter of my life.”
Dezzi praised Garrott’s accomplishments, saying his compassion, dedication and wisdom were vital during some opportune and critical moments in the organization’s history.
“Not only has Gladney grown its mission to place thousands of children in loving homes,” said Dezzi, “he has also established innovative and far-reaching outreach efforts, such as the groundbreaking Pathways program as well as the Next Steps initiative that supports birth mothers. In addition, we have expanded our mission with the creation of both AdoptED and Gladney University. Frank has an extraordinary legacy here, and we will miss him personally and professionally.”
Dezzi said Melson’s appointment will be effective January 1, 2018.
“Mark Melson is the right man at the right time for Gladney,” said Dezzi. “Our board has been focusing on all the issues related to future planning and succession. Mark was recently appointed as the Chief Operating Officer for Gladney. His service in that position as well as his work as Vice President for Development proved his solid operational and leadership abilities. We all look forward to Gladney’s next generation of leadership and growth under Mark.”
Garrott said he hopes to “travel the world” after leaving Gladney, and he pledged to continue supporting Gladney and its mission.
“It will be hard to leave,” said Garrott. “I love Gladney. The agency provided for me personally because I am a Gladney parent. There are no words for the gratitude that I feel. When visualizing the end of the year, I know when I walk out the door, there will be a lump in my throat the size of a grapefruit.”
Melson expressed his appreciation for the appointment.
“It’s an honor to stand on the shoulders of those who came before me and lead this great organization,” said Melson. “After almost 10 years at Gladney I have seen how adoption has touched the lives of thousands of families, and as a Gladney Parent I have personally witnessed the miracle of adoption in my own home. I’m excited about our future and building on Gladney’s great legacy.”
About the Gladney Center for Adoption
Based in Fort Worth, Texas, Gladney is a not-for-profit organization that since 1887 has placed over 31,000 children internationally and domestically in forever homes and served over 38,000 birth parents. The agency also maintains the largest, most comprehensive maternity home in the United States. For more information, visit our website or call 817-922-6000. The heart and soul of our mission is- a place where hope is born.