BY MARTA HEPLER DRAHOS
TRAVERSE CITY — A member of the clergy once again will lead the Father Fred Foundation.
Rosemary Hagan, a chaplain with Hospice of Michigan and spiritual director at Grace Episcopal Church, will take over as executive director of the nonprofit 13 years after the death of its founder, Father Edwin "Fred" Frederick. The foundation provides food, clothing, household goods and financial assistance to families in need in the five-county Grand Traverse region.
Hagan, 59, was one of about 65 applicants for the position from all over the country, said Jamie Marsh, Father Fred vice president and chairman of the foundation's personnel committee. Hagan will replace current executive director Martie Manty. Retiring Feb. 28, Manty will stay on as an independent donor relations contractor, Marsh said.
Hagan's combination of education, work experience and spiritual background made her the best candidate for the job, Marsh said. As a longtime board and committee member, her familiarity with the foundation and its staff and board lends itself to a smooth transition, he added.
"Networking and community relations is so critical in that executive director position. We really feel she has a spark in that area," Marsh said.
Hagan holds a bachelor's degree in psychology and sociology with a social work emphasis, a master's in administration and a doctorate in ministry. She has extensive human services-related experience. Besides working with Traverse City Area Public Schools, where she trained school staff on accessing community resources for homeless families, she created and managed several local and state-level projects, including a federal grant project that addressed youth homelessness, for the Traverse Bay Area Intermediate School District.
She also is a founding partner of the Jubilee Center at Grace Episcopal Church, founding board member of Building Bridges with Music, founding partner for Host Homes for Homeless Youth and a 12-year executive board member of the Benzie County Human Service Collaborative.
"At the heart of all the work I've done has been this desire to bring people and ideas together to help meet unmet needs," said Hagan, a resident of the Grand Traverse area since 1985. "At Father Fred, I saw the depth of the response to the needs of the community and the depths of response of the community to support the work. It seemed to me a viable and rich way to give back."
The foundation served more than 6,200 families from the five-county area in 2012, said Joan O'Neill, marketing and communications manager. Founded on and committed to Christian values, the foundation's vision is to "provide a place where no one falls through the cracks" and where "everyone who comes is treated with dignity and respect."
Hagan said she will spend her first month as executive director determining her priorities and focus.
"I'm not one to make changes quickly because I believe we hire good people," she said. "The goal is to focus on the mission, to be true to the mission.
"As a leader, my role is to bring resources to bear so those folks on staff, including the volunteers, can do the best job they can. Our mission is to listen, care and share, and that's my philosophy as a leader. I will take my time with setting goals."