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PNA Executive Director Dar’Nesha Weary steps down, former ED Lee Harper to lead interim efforts

A message from the PNA Board of Directors

As our friends, family and neighbors, we hope you are safe and well.  This has been a challenging time for our community and the Phinney Neighborhood Association (PNA). The board and staff are navigating unprecedented operational and financial challenges due to the Covid-19 pandemic and working tirelessly to ensure the PNA’s viability. As our partners in supporting each other and our community, we want to share updates with you, including some changes, some successes, and ongoing work.

In late May, Dar’Nesha Weary made the difficult decision to resign as Executive Director of the PNA. The board wishes to express our sincere appreciation to Dar’Nesha for her extraordinary work during her tenure with this organization. It has been a very difficult time for us all, and for her especially.

In a message to PNA staff, Dar’Nesha said, “I’ve truly enjoyed working with the staff of PNA and engaging with the community, I will truly miss being part of continuing the legacy of this organization. I truly believe that PNA will continue being the heartbeat of this community and that we will continue responding to the needs of our neighbors. The community needs this organization, and our mission statement has never been stronger or more relevant. Thank you for the honor of working with you all.”

We are grateful for all Dar’Nesha has done to keep the PNA afloat during this crisis. We deeply regret that the pandemic has diverted us from the exciting new direction she was setting for the PNA and disrupted the relationship we were just beginning to establish. We know our community will join us in wishing her the very best. In response to this loss, we have contracted with former PNA Executive Director Lee Harper as Interim Executive Director while we recruit a new permanent executive director.

The PNA has been so grateful for the overwhelming support of our community through the Don’t Stop Believin’ emergency fundraising campaign, and we are glad to share that we also received funds through the CARES Act Payroll Protection Program (PPP) to help sustain us in the near term.

The board and staff are excited to be working in a multitude of ways to ensure a strong future. At the end of May, we had a productive and heartening board and staff retreat to develop post-Covid-19 strategies for the PNA. We created new board-staff committees with the purpose of engaging with our community and mapping out our future; we are meeting regularly to assess and adapt to the situation as it continues to unfold.

Through Dar’Nesha’s leadership in the past months and countless staff and volunteer hours, we are also continuing provide essential services for community members who most need them. Our Hot Meal Program serves three free meals a week. We are working hard to keep our senior population connected. Our Greenwood Senior Center is holding online and phone counseling and support groups as well as making personal calls to members. We are offering virtual classes, group activities such as: Zumba, Zoom learning sessions, and coffee hours. We also launched a popular youth/senior pen pal project in partnership with the Greenwood Branch of Seattle Public Library. 

Our PNA Village program, which helps seniors to stay in their own homes as they age, is as active as ever. Volunteers deliver groceries, medications, supplies, and meals to those who most need them. Our Whittier Kids program is providing free child care for first responders and frontline and healthcare workers. We have received more than 500 donated masks and are redistributing them to the community. 

All of these inspiring acts of support are an incredible testament to the power of our mission, community, leadership team, staff, and volunteers. Staff members are working above and beyond their job descriptions to keep the PNA alive and well, and the board is so grateful for their dedication.

Throughout its forty-year history, the PNA has continuously grown, evolved and adapted as the needs and characteristics of our community have changed. Never in that time has the PNA or the community it serves faced a challenge as severe and fundamental as the Covid-19 pandemic. With the skill and commitment of its staff, the energy of its board, and above all, the spirit and support of this community, the PNA will once more evolve as a force that serves and holds the community together during our most challenging times.