As executive director of Northwest Neighbors Village, Marianna Blagburn has been an irrepressible cheerleader for the “aging in place” movement in Forest Hills, Chevy Chase, Tenleytown and AU Park for almost five years. Now she’s using her skills to help seniors who can no longer care for themselves.
NNV was founded in 2009. Blagburn was the organization’s first executive director. She was hired in May 2011.
“Leaving the Village was a very difficult decision,” Blagburn said in a March 18th email to executive directors of the District’s other villages. “I have been, just as all of you, heavily invested in the work of shaping a community-based network of support for older residents.”
Blagburn said she would stay involved and help NNV with its transition to a new executive director. And she isn’t going far. NNV is headquartered at Forest Hills of DC, and Blagburn has accepted a position as the program director for the home’s nearby memory care unit, Forest Side.
As NNV’s executive director, Blagburn was instrumental in creating a program that brought in resources of already established organizations such as Iona Senior Services, and filling gaps in needed services by creating a vast network of volunteers and social programming.
In addition, she worked to establish a collaborative group of village executive directors as this model was adopted by other communities across Washington. This has become an entity that is pushing for more support from the city.
In her March 18th email, Blagburn writes she will miss “the small miracles that happen every day.”
“We receive requests that are challenging at times and it is not always apparent that we have the resources,” she writes. “Volunteers and other organizations step up to help our older residents. I will also miss my board, the volunteers and the members. We have been together for five years. I have been fortunate to be on this remarkable journey of hope and resilience.”
To Steve Altman, the president of this nonprofit and one of the founders, the feeling is mutual.
“I can’t say enough about her accomplishments and value to the organization,” Altman told Forest Hills Connection. “Her abilities to connect with members, to motivate volunteers and to make difficult decisions that shaped the direction of NNV has been extraordinary. Rarely do we find the passion, the knowledge of her profession, and the personal abilities all in the same leader. And she has not been only the leader of NNV but all of the villages in the district have said how much they will miss the ongoing contributions she made to their success.”
Blagburn also has admirers at her new employer, Forest Side Memory Care, which sent us the following statement:
Forest Side Memory Care Assisted Living announces new Program Director
Marianna Blagburn, who served as the Executive Director of Northwest Neighbors Village, has been named the new Program Director for Forest Side Memory Care.
“I am very pleased that Marianna will join our team on Monday, April 4th,” reported Sandy Douglass, CEO for Forest Hills of DC and Forest Side Memory Care. “Marianna brings a deep and rich professional background in many aspects of elder care services and programming to our organization.”
Since 2011, Marianna has served as the Executive Director of Northwest Neighbors Village, and created a model grass roots organization that includes over 175 retired volunteers who provide a variety of services and specialized senior activities and events in Northwest DC.
A testament to Marianna’s commitment to elder care is her seven years of volunteer engagement primarily in spiritual services at ManorCare HCR, The Residences at Thomas Circle, the Washington Home and Hospice and the Columbia Lighthouse for the Blind.
Starting in 1998 and through 2009, Marianna held several professional positions at local prominent institutions of higher education including George Washington, Catholic and Potomac Universities. Marianna has a lifelong passion for learning as demonstrated by her pursuit of a Certificate on Aging from Johns Hopkins and participation in professional development programs on Alzheimer’s and dementia care at the Integrace Institute at Copper Ridge and IONA Senior Services. Marianna has earned both a Bachelor and Masters of Arts from American University.
Forest Side Memory Care Assisted Living located at 2701 Military Road NW, is part of Forest Hills of DC. Forest Hills, formerly known as The Methodist Home, is a full service, continuum of care retirement community. The main campus has been part of our neighborhood since 1926.