Updated 1:15 pm
Elizabeth Folcarelli will become chief executive officer of Martha’s Vineyard Community Services (MVCS) in early August, replacing seven-year executive director Julie Fay.
Folcarelli brings nearly 30 years of experience in community-based nonprofit organizations, with specialization in behavioral healthcare, youth and family services, and elder care. Fay announced her retirement in October.
“I’m thrilled to join Martha’s Vineyard Community Services at this critical moment in its 60-year history,” Folcarelli said in a press release. “Falmouth and Gosnold have given me a birds-eye view of both the Island and the talented staff, and I can’t wait to roll up my sleeves, lay down stakes on the Vineyard, and listen with an open heart and mind.”
While leading MVCS, Fay oversaw significant service and budget expansion, and launched a $24 million capital campaign to rebuild the aging campus to serve more Islanders.
Fay said she is confident that Folcarelli will do a “great job,” and noted her in-depth knowledge of the types of services offered by MVCS. “She has a really good background,” Fay said.
MVCS board chair Robert Egerton said in the release that it was a formidable assignment to find a new leader, and was made more challenging by the ongoing pandemic.
“There are challenges ahead, from meeting our clients’ needs under the cloud of COVID-19 to completing the overdue rebuilding of our aging campus,” Egerton said in the release. “Still, thanks to Julie, Beth will lead an organization that over seven years has seen unprecedented growth, accomplishment, and expanded services to the Island community.”
In an interview with The Times, Folcarelli said she worked with MVCS for years while at Gosnold Inc. in Falmouth, a nonprofit that seeks to excel in addiction and mental health treatment.
Folcarelli was drawn to MVCS and the position of CEO because the broad range of services that the organization offers aligned closely with her position as Chief Operating Officer at Gosnold Inc.
“I have been a part of similar organizations, with longstanding roots in the community,” Folcarelli said. “A lot of those types of services from MVCS are those that I have either developed or led in other organizations in the past.”
As all community service organizations continue to acclimate to the pandemic, Folcarelli said, many unique challenges and opportunities arise in providing service.
“We are still amidst all this, it is still a very serious priority,” Folcarelli said. “As employees come back to work, and we open up site-based service, it’s important we work with the community so they have faith in the safety and efficacy of our services.”
As the new executive director of MVCS, Folcarelli will utilize all the tools available to increase access to programming and services, while keeping staff and community members safe.
She said a whole host of challenges related to workforce development and service delivery have arisen, but there are new procedures in the field that allow for quality support to be provided directly. “Things like telehealth services are an example of changes that the organization is keeping pace with,” Folcarelli said.
As for the major expansion project MVCS is currently undergoing, Folcarelli said it is a bold initiative and a significant challenge, but also creates many opportunities for broadening access to support, and improving the service network that already exists.
“Part of my job at Gosnold is organization development — doing corporate campaigns, holding fundraising events; there are certainly new challenges to raising awareness and funding,” Folcarelli said.
Folcarelli said her first step as CEO is to get to know the people that make MVCS such an essential part of the Vineyard community, and through those relationships, gain a strong understanding of the services offered.
“The next step is to match the needs of the community to the services of the organization,” Folcarelli said. “It’s a new world for us, but I see a lot of promise in the existing services, and certainly a wonderful foundation with a whole lot to build upon.”
Updated with more information from an interview with Folcarelli.