Strategic Planning Workshop

Six months ago, we held our first strategic planning workshop (coach Susie Hill and W&M Business School’s Kim Mallory prompted us). We got off to a great start. As President, I wish to acknowledge all that Susie and Kim, the W&M Business School (LD Metcalfe, Graham Henshaw and their student teams) have done to support us in our startup stage. Amazing is what can happen in a very short period of time.

  1. We will open the first Fairweather Lodge in Virginia in July.
  2. We have met with Virginia’s Dept. of General Services to further discuss and confirm their commitment to lease 25 acres of property for $1 at Eastern State to Hope Family Village (HFV) Corporation. Included in the final budget is an amendment sponsored by Sen. Tommy Norment.
  3. We have continued to receive generous donations from families who believe in our management team, HFV’s mission and accomplishments, most notably caregivers Lee and Betty Anne Griffin. We are most appreciative and grateful to all.
  4. The week of our meeting we received word that Exelon Corporation (Chicago) had issued a Employee Volunteer Awards grant to HFV because of the volunteer work of director Carmen Andreoli. Only one awarded from the non-regulated business.

In our meeting April 18th, board members were, again, joined by significant resource people who have been guiding both the lodge and village projects. Retired management consultant, fellow W&M Alum, Van Black (’75), a very early donor to our pursuit (2015), took us through an action-oriented day.

Fairweather lodge is autonomous living for unrelated adults living with a serious mental illness diagnosis. The first group has been working together for almost two years, at The Coffee House on Saturday mornings at 8 AM, preparing for this moment. Each lodge member has  a job, a requirement of the model. Three serve as NAMI Connections Group facilitators. As their lodge coordinator, I am very proud of them.

The lodge development process would never have happened without the consistent support of the Coalition for Community Living, the board, and  lodge coordinators from around the country, especially Bill McHenry of New Visions, Inc. and John Trepp.

Hope Family Village’s first neighborhood will serve 25 caregiving families and their loved ones who manage a serious mental illness. Within the village, there will be at least one Fairweather Lodge. The village will blend co-housing and Fairweather Lodge principles and practices together to achieve wellness and support. The community’s highest priority is mental health care. As an inclusive community, by design, it will be open to those who embrace our vision. The idea is that neighbors help neighbors.

We thank CDR for loaning us their conference room to continue our work.


Hope Family Village Update

Since January, we have been running full out. (I have noticed some grey hair appearing.)

1. In July we will open the first Fairweather Lodge in Virginia. The Williamsburg Fairweather Lodge has been a long time coming. Beginning in 2015, we took part in national lodge events and conferences. In 2017, we started a virtual lodge at The Coffee House. Now, here we are four lodge members moving into a real house. They have been working on their lodge rules and handbook. Much work remains ahead, but everyone is confident and excited. We want this first home to be a success. We want our community to know what is possible when a small group goes to work. They will see that Hope Family Village is much more than talk. We have a great board and supporters. And, we do stuff.

Lodge Member Saturday Morning Breakfast Meeting

2. From January through March, we sought further amendments to the state budget, led by Sen. Tommy Norment. A big thank you! The result: The Governor’s budget sets aside 25 acres for 25 families for a $1 lease for Hope Family Village at Eastern State. This is another pursuit that has been a longtime coming, dating back to April of 2016 when we envisioned it at Gloucester Library.
We have since met with James City County, the state’s Department of General Services, the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services, and Colonial Behavioral Health. All are motivated to see this project happen. We are beginning to talk the details and schedule for making this happen. Likely, we will be looking 3 – 4 years to construction at this site. Before then, we will begin organizing families who are truly interested in financially committing to living in the village. As we negotiate the lease arrangement, we will be communicating with you more regularly in a newsletter.
Most important is that we are creating community. Fairweather Lodge is our first tangible step toward creating a tangible village. A community of acceptance and mutual support.
It is a very exciting time. We have come a long, long way in a short time.
For those interested in getting on our list of families and interested parties, contact Sandy Mottesheard at sandymotts@yahoo.com. She organizes our family dinners.