It seems we have been bombarded with unsettling news for weeks. And depending on your personality, social distancing could be your worst nightmare or your dream come true (under different circumstances). For me, it's a little of both. I have enjoyed some special blessings during this time. For example, my daughter who is a college student several hundred miles away has been home. Our whole family has enjoyed being together and playing domino games late into the night. We have had dance parties and cooking contests and we have had some quiet moments too, like cuddling and watching movies. There has been some blessings in all this chaos.
Sitting in church this past Sunday our associate pastor was delivering a message taken from the movie Frozen 2. I’ll admit that it took me about two years to see the first Frozen and I have yet to see the second, however I did YouTube what she was talking about. In the movie there is a song that Anna (Kristin Bell) sings called The Next Right Thing. Even though I haven't seen the movie, this resonated with me because the message seemed to be about overcoming adversity or tackling big problems by doing The Next Right Thing.
As I reflect on the past year and look ahead to the future, I want you to know your support matters. I’m writing on behalf of women, children, and families who feel grateful for you during this season. Although they do not know you, I do, and I want to share this message of appreciation with you: Thank you for choosing to get involved with Gladney and giving towards our mission (and towards their lives).
“There’s no place like home for the holidays,” the classic line by Perry Como that sets the tone for the holiday season (I bet you just sang it in your head). Home means fun holiday memories, I’m sure a few laughs, and maybe even a few tears. We all have our home for the holiday traditions. Who is hosting the festivities at their house? What will we bring? Who will be there? All of these make the season great!
I joined Gladney on April 1, 2008 (April Fool’s Day–appropriate!) as the Chief Development Officer. The agency was in transition at that time, as the development team had just been relocated from the Gladney Fund to the Gladney Center. I later began working with different departments throughout the organization and eventually became the Chief Operating Officer. Eighteen months ago, I took the reins as President and CEO. I have worked in the nonprofit world for the past 24 years, and I’m continually amazed by the generosity of our society. I have learned over the years that people are motivated to make a real impact. It has been my job to tell the story and show how a person’s support can change lives. At Gladney, we have the privilege of doing that every day.
Topics: Gladney Leadership
I have had the opportunity to serve Gladney for portions of the last three decades. I began as a Financial Consultant, helping to organize the Gladney Fund in the early 1990s. I fell in love with the organization and its mission to build “Bright Futures Through Adoption.” As a young wife and mother myself, I was immersed in the culture of families and children, the broader “Gladney Family.” It has been my privilege to have been a part of this family and to see the positive impact an adoption agency in Fort Worth, Texas, has had on birth mothers, children, adoptive families, our country, and the world.
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.
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.