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.