A Message from Deborah J. Vagins, NNEDV President & CEO
March 1, 2023
Over the past few years, the COVID-19 pandemic and other societal challenges have profoundly altered the way we live life and the way we look to our future, and have called on us to more intentionally center the people in our lives who matter most. While our incredible Board of Directors offered me a contract extension this past winter, some family members’ health needs became more pressing. After deep reflection, I have determined that those family needs have beckoned my time and attention and this means making the bittersweet decision to leave NNEDV this month. After a brief break, I will continue to work on civil rights and survivor justice issues; it is in the very fiber of my being. However, I’m fortunate that it will be in a way that allows me more time and space to support my family, as the only caretaker they have in the United States.
As I reflect on everything that has happened—to me personally, to the world, and within the movement to end domestic violence—since I started in my role as President & CEO, I am incredibly proud of NNEDV’s work during my time here. I am thankful to have led this wonderful team, I am proud of our collective successes, and I am excited for the future of NNEDV. And I am deeply grateful to you—our community of supporters, donors, and advocates.
NNEDV has welcomed several new Board members since 2019 and our staff will increase by over 20% this year. The organization has also developed new and strengthened relationships with private funders and external partners, increasing our revenue significantly; embarked on new grants partnering with culturally specific providers, with a focus on centering racial equity; and celebrated legislative successes, including the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) Fix, the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) reauthorization, increased appropriations, and economic justice legislation. As an important part of my vision, NNEDV is about to embark on a multi-year project to build a consensus framework around restorative justice practices and alternatives to incarceration. NNEDV has been proud to maintain strong relationships with our 56 state and U.S. territorial member coalitions against domestic violence, and we have expanded our presence and reach through communications, media, and trauma-informed, victim-centered, and intersectional technical assistance and training. While I am saddened to not be able to see all this exciting work come to completion, I have been proud to have been a part of this alongside all of you.
I have great confidence in the stability and well-being of this organization and in everyone working so selflessly in service of our mission and in support of survivors. I am so deeply appreciative of the remarkable leaders on the Board, our wonderful membership of coalitions, my strong NNEDV leadership team, and all the committed and passionate staff at NNEDV working so hard to confront the conditions that allow violence to occur.
NNEDV’s Board of Directors will oversee the transition process and plans to name an interim CEO shortly. The Board is prioritizing collecting information and feedback from NNEDV staff, our member coalitions, and other stakeholders to strategically build on our accomplishments for NNEDV’s continued advancement of mission and purpose.
With gratitude and always in solidarity,
Deborah J. Vagins
NNEDV President & CEO