Family Alliance Incorp. is losing its founder and executive director, Carol Louise, who will be retiring at the end of this year.
“It’s been a very rewarding journey,” Louise said. “I’ve enjoyed thousands of opportunities to help improve the quality of life for mature adults and their families throughout the region these many years.”
Louise founded the nonprofit 30 years ago. Family Alliance is marking its anniversary with a dinner Saturday, Sept. 22 at Drendel Ballroom in the Prairie Lodge, Sun City Huntley.
“I’ve had the good fortune of working with a great team of dedicated colleagues,” Louise said. “I look forward to the opportunity to celebrate all we’ve accomplished.”
Among her many accomplishments, Louise was recently notified that she had received the National Adult Day Services Association’s (NADSA) Administrator/Director Award, recognizing her outstanding leadership, management skills, effective stewardship with budgets and fundraising, program development, team building, and longevity within the field.
Louise will remain involved in Family Alliance’s fundraising efforts. The organization’s Board of Directors is currently reviewing options for filling the Executive Director role that she will vacate at the end of the year.
“We appreciate all that Carol has accomplished for mental health in McHenry County as the Executive Director of Family Alliance. Although she has set the bar high, we will work hard to ensure that we find an equally qualified successor,” Family Alliance Board President Steve Finzel said.
The roots of Family Alliance go back to 1981, when Carol Louise founded the first senior day care service in McHenry County, Illinois as a nonprofit. The following year, with a $1,000 operating budget and two volunteers, Family Alliance Senior Daycare opened its doors to serve two clients in the Sunday school building of Grace Lutheran Church.
Family Alliance expanded rapidly adding a senior counseling program and an Alzheimer’s support group. The agency moved to a new location on Throop Street in Woodstock, employed a director, two counselors and a receptionist. By the end of the year, the agency served 20 seniors in its programs.
Throughout the 1980’s, expansion of staff, programs and facilities led to greater recognition and prominence as the organization grew into its mission, providing outreach counseling for seniors with chronic mental illness diagnosis, as well as providing training in the areas of aging, dementia and long-term care options.
In the first half of the 1990’s, Family Alliance added case management to its programming, in order to partner with seniors to help them obtain necessary services and benefits. Due to an increased number of clients, the agency relocated to a larger facility on Eastwood Drive. Soon, the agency was reaching well over a thousand seniors, caregivers and community members through its on-site adult day health program, support groups and community education programs.
In the last half of that decade, Family Alliance, Inc. relocated yet again to its present location on Seminary Avenue. The new 7,540 square-foot facility could accommodate 45 clients in the dayroom and would expand yet again by the end of the decade. The agency became accredited through the Joint Commission Accreditation on Healthcare Organizations and doubled its reach to 2,200 seniors, caregivers and community members through its comprehensive programming.
Family Alliance continued to expand its facilities to meet demand, adding a new wing and the courtyard/memory Garden, which now provides horticultural activities for our clients. The agency also received its CARF accreditation.
The organization won the “Everything Under the Sun” award at the 2011 Governor’s Conference, recognizing the best overall adult day programs in Illinois and was also awarded the “Outstanding Adult Day Center Award for 2011” by the National Adult Day Service Association.