ROANOKE, Va. (January 21, 2020) – Friendship, a local leader in senior living and rehabilitation, has announced the selection of Sarah Stephens as the community’s development officer, a position that is brand new to the organization.
Stephens, a graduate of Centre College, joined the team in December 2019.
“We are very happy to have Sarah join the Friendship team,” said Stephanie Landes, director of marketing. “She has a genuine desire to help others, she exemplifies the values our company holds dear, and her skill set is exactly what we were looking for in getting our fundraising program up and running.”
Stephens joined the non-profit industry in 2011, serving as the volunteer coordinator for Goodwill Industries of the Valleys. During her tenure, Stephens developed the organization’s first ever volunteer program and was promoted multiple times. Each role came with additional fundraising responsibilities.
“Supporting human services is my calling,” said Stephens. “When I learned of this opportunity at Friendship, I felt I could make a significant impact in helping a particular segment of our population, older adults, who don’t have the support they want and need.”
Since opening the first assisted living building in 1966, Friendship has grown to include 20 buildings at its North campus on Hershberger Road, the South campus located on Starkey Road that accommodates up to 120 rehabilitation and skilled nursing patients, and several ancillary services. These include Club Friendship, the on-site restaurant and bar, the retail pharmacy and emporium, home care services and the adult day care center located in The Feinour Center.
Because Friendship and its entities are non-profit, any proceeds earned are reinvested into the community. In 2018-2019, Friendship subsidized over 10 million dollars in uncompensated care. According to Joe Hoff, president and chief executive officer, the need continues to rise.
“People often look at Friendship’s size and just assume that we are a for-profit entity, and that’s not the case,” said Hoff. “We strive to be the best stewards of the financial resources we have, all the while, operating with grace and helping those in need. Friendship has grown substantially since its beginning, and with the increasing needs for seniors and healthcare, we intend to grow right alongside. We are excited to have Sarah’s leadership in helping to educate the greater community about our organization and to garner support that will aid our community’s evolution.”
Stephens has already started prioritizing the organization’s needs and is working with an internal team to establish funds that will be used to support the financial needs of residents, provide financial support to employees in emergency situations, and steward unrestricted gifts that will be invested to improve Friendship’s infrastructure, as well as the programs and services that the community provides.
In addition to caring for its residents, Friendship has also been making tremendous strides to care for its team members. In 2019 the company kicked off its new mission statement of “supporting friends by providing peace of mind” and collectively established the company’s values, based on feedback from team members companywide. The selected values are accountability, compassion, positivity, respectfulness, and teamwork. Evidence of positive improvement in the company’s culture has been solidified as Friendship was named Best Employer by both The Roanoker’s best of survey and the Southwest Living Magazine’s readers’ choice awards that same year.
“In the time I’ve been here at Friendship, the best employer accolades are well deserved,” said Stephens. “Everyone has been so welcoming, everyone is genuinely kind, and I’m proud to be part of an organization that provides care and support for both their residents and their staff.”