Long-serving CARITAS CEO announces her retirement
Karen Stanley’s leadership has formed hundreds of partnerships that serve thousands
Jeremy M. Lazarus | 9/22/2022, 6 p.m.
The leader of CARITAS, the Richmond area’s largest provider of homeless and addiction recovery services, is stepping down.
Karen Stanley, president and CEO, has notified her board she would retire Dec. 31 after 22 years.
“It’s bittersweet to leave an organization and people that I love,” Ms. Stanley stated, “but the timing couldn’t be better. CARITAS is financially stable, we’ve just completed a strategic plan and have a strong depth of leadership to carry it into the future.”
During her tenure, CARITAS has grown from a faith-based group providing emergency shelter at area churches into a five- program nonprofit that links with 300 community partners and serves 3,300 men and women each year.
“The fact that CARITAS has grown to be a home for so many men and women in their most challenging times is one of my proudest achievements,” Ms. Stanley stated.
CARITAS Board Chair Gregory D. “Greg” Suskind said CARITAS would lose “an inspiring leader and a good soul. She has built CARITAS into a sustainable institution with a kind heart, a ready smile and an intense drive to get things done.”
The once financially tiny organization now has a $7 million annual operating budget, employs 100 people, 50 full time and 50 part time, and has the support of thousands of volunteers and donors, according to the announcement from CARITAS.
Ms. Stanley has had a connection with CARITAS since the 1980s when she first served as a volunteer with her congregation in providing winter shelter. She later joined the board and was tapped to lead the group in 2000.
Initially focused on homelessness, Ms. Stanley also began leading the Healing Place, an addiction recovery program for men, in 2007, and later made it an operating program. On her watch, CARITAS also added a furniture bank to assist people with furniture and other household goods in 2008, and a work training program in 2011.
The biggest addition came in 2020 when Ms. Stanley led the development and opened the $28 million CARITAS Center in a former tobacco plant at 2220 Stockton St. Along with CARITAS offices and furniture, the building includes the area’s first women’s shelter and addiction recovery center, as well as rental units for program graduates.
Mr. Suskind stated that the board is conducting a national search for her replacement.