After fourteen years of tireless work to further Amara’s mission and values, John Morse has announced that he will be departing from his role as Chief Executive Officer on April 17, 2020. During his tenure, which began in 2006, John has been the driving force behind Amara’s amazing growth and success as a nearly 100-year-old organization.
A small sample of Amara’s accomplishments in those fourteen years includes:
- Building campuses in both King and Pierce Counties to improve services to families experiencing foster care. The new campuses created space for our Foster Care team to provide compassionate, high-quality support to foster families and a brand-new family visit program for families to visit with their children currently in foster care so that they can maintain relationships.
- Opening King and Pierce counties’ only Emergency Sanctuaries to care for children entering foster care.
- Expanding Amara’s programs to include a groundbreaking Post-Adoption program for adopted people, adoptive families, and birth families to foster open, authentic relationships with each other.
- Embarking upon an exciting partnership with Pierce County Juvenile Court to create our state’s first Best for Babies court program to help improve family reunification for children in foster care.
- Growing Amara’s commitment to LGBTQ+ people through advocacy, programs, and services designed to address these communities’ specific needs, to challenge historic injustices, and to solidify Amara’s existence as an open and affirming nonprofit organization.
- Working as a constant champion for and with children in foster care, adopted people, and their families throughout Western Washington and beyond.
John’s vision and leadership will be greatly missed by the staff, Board, volunteers, and organizational partners. But it’s John’s devotion to always putting the wellbeing of children in foster care front and center that is his greatest legacy.
“The Board of Directors of Amara would like to express our deepest gratitude and appreciation to John Morse for his vision, leadership, and numerous achievements over the past 14 years as our Chief Executive Officer. We have experienced a phenomenal period of growth and expansion under his direction beginning with a vision and his abiding and inherent passion to always consider the needs of children first,” said Robin Rothe, Amara’s President of the Board of Directors.
“I will leave Amara filled with immense gratitude for the opportunity this organization and role has provided me for 14+ years. While the reasons for that gratitude are many, working with an outstanding group of dedicated and talented professionals, both within Amara’s walls and throughout the child welfare landscape in our state, on a common mission to prioritize the wellbeing of children in foster care will rank as the most rewarding,” said John Morse.
Given the current situation, Amara hopes to find an appropriate opportunity to recognize John’s leadership and lasting impact at a later date.
During this time of transition, the Board voted to approve the appointment of Jason Gortney, Amara’s current Chief Program Officer, as Interim CEO. Jason will be well-supported by the Board and Amara’s strong leadership team.
“It has been wonderful to have worked with John, our leadership team, the Board, and the entire staff to prepare me for this responsibility. I am honored to have been chosen as the Interim CEO to lead this incredible organization towards this next phase. I have great confidence in the Amara team to continue to provide high quality, essential services to children and families during this challenging time,” shared Jason.
The organization’s search for a permanent CEO will launch shortly, following the creation of a Board-led Search Committee and Transition Committee. Amara is committed to leading with equity and transparency throughout the process.
Amara has walked alongside children and families for close to 100 years and we are as dedicated as ever to doing this work with passion, a commitment to equity, creativity, and compassion. The transitions taking place at Amara are a time for us to demonstrate our organizational values: courageous leadership, perseverance, hope, and inclusiveness. We look forward to finding our next dynamic leader with a deep dedication to Amara’s mission to support and champion children in foster care, adopted people, and their families.