A Letter from Peter Gagliardi
Since late 1990, I have had the privilege of serving as Way Finders’ President and CEO. I have been honored to lead this wonderful organization, working alongside a dedicated and passionate group of colleagues and partners. Together, we have responded to the ever-changing needs of the community by developing new and innovative programs that deliver housing, employment, and economic mobility opportunities to individuals and families in our region.
I am writing today to announce that after nearly thirty years, I will be stepping down from my position as President and CEO of Way Finders, effective June 30, 2020.
Way Finders is in a great place of strength, including our upcoming move into our new Housing Center in April. This is the right time to undertake such a transition. I have full confidence in the Way Finders team, with our strong mix of seasoned professionals and up-and-coming leaders, to continue our important work. Way Finders’ Board of Directors has formed a hiring committee and has engaged Marcum LLP to lead a national search beginning in January to identify our new CEO.
It’s an exciting time for the organization and I’ll embrace my new role as an advocate and supporter of Way Finders’ mission to light pathways and open doors to homes and communities where people thrive. It’s through the dedication and hard work of our capable and committed staff members that our impact throughout the region is enormous. During our last fiscal year, we calculated that our work touched the lives of more than 50,000 men, women, and children in Western Massachusetts.
- We have nearly tripled the size of our staff, now 240 strong, since 1990 and our annual budget has grown from a few million dollars to nearly $87,000,000 today.
- Annually, we help more than 5,500 households with rental assistance, allowing them to have secure housing at a price that is affordable.
- Since the 1980s, thousands of people have learned about becoming first-time homebuyers and have purchased homes. In just the past two years alone, 463 families purchased a home of their own with over 300 home purchases happening right here in Springfield, representing over $77M of investment in our region.
- Since 2013, Way Finders has helped over 720 formerly homeless people find employment in our region. Of those placed, 88% have retained their jobs and 90% have retained their housing as a result of stable employment.
In addition to providing a wide variety of programs and services at our Housing Center, Way Finders has remained fiercely committed to the development and management of affordable housing in our region. When I look back at all of the housing we have created, renovated, and managed throughout the years, from Kenwyn Apartments back in 1995, to Amherst’s Butternut Farms, and our recent work in Northampton with Live 155 and The Lumber Yard, I think about the people who call our properties home, and what it means for these families to have safe place to call home.
I am equally proud of the neighborhood revitalization and resident leadership training we have accomplished in Springfield and Holyoke. Today, because of the hard work and commitment of community members and our partners, Springfield’s Byers Street and Old Hill neighborhoods are stronger, safer, and more vibrant, and our investment in Holyoke, specifically in the areas surrounding the new library, will have positive and lasting impact.
While I am excited to imagine the new opportunities I will be able to explore in my retirement, I know how much I’ll miss working with our staff members and partners in the community every day. I want to express my sincerest gratitude to our team, our donors, and our partners for their support, hard work, and commitment to Way Finders. It has truly been a joy to come to work every day, to be a part of the growth of this organization, and to know just how much our efforts have contributed to our residents and the region.
I look forward to being in touch during the next six months to share more news from Way Finders and to keep you updated on our search for Way Finders’ next CEO.
Best wishes to you and your loved ones for a joyous Holiday Season and a happy and healthy New Year.