By Ann Kurzius
Longtime Southwest activist Bob Craycraft has announced he will be stepping down as Executive Director of the Waterfront Village by the end of the year.
“Bob was one of the instigators and architects who created our senior village from scratch,” recalls President Barbara Ehrlich. “In May 2013 we held the first community meeting that drew over 200 people to discuss starting a village to help Southwest seniors age in their own homes. So a group of us brought on Bob—a former ANC commissioner and creator of the Waterfront Gateway Neighborhood Association and Neighbors of Southwest Duck Pond—as a consultant, to visit and learn from other villages and to help us navigate the complex process of organizing a nonprofit organization in D.C.”
“In the three years since our 2016 launch as the city’s 12th senior village, with Bob as our executive director, we’ve grown to nearly 190 dues-paying members, comparable to neighboring Foggy Bottom and Georgetown senior villages, and established ourselves as a viable, thriving neighborhood organization.”
Adds Craycraft, “We’ve been following the three-year launch plan recommended by the Village to Village Network, the national umbrella organization that serves as a resource for over 250 senior villages across the U.S. The general experience has been that the team that launches and grows a village through its first three years is not necessarily the best team to take it forward into maintenance mode for the future. 2019 is Year 3 for us, and I feel it’s time for new blood—a new generation of leaders to take Waterfront Village from here.”
What’s next for Bob? “I will always be an enthusiastic supporter of our Village,” Bob assures. “Whether that’s as a consultant, a volunteer, a part-time employee, or simply a donor needs to be up to the new Executive Director and the board. It’s not necessarily a good thing for any new leader to inherit his or her predecessor on their staff.”
The President and other Village officers are volunteers serving one-year terms. The nine members of the Village’s board of directors serve three-year terms. The Executive Director is a paid staff position. It is currently full time, but the board’s three-member search committee would consider dividing the role into two part-time positions if the right combination of people were found to share the job.
So far the Village has been based in Craycraft’s home office, but the board will be testing shared office space at 800 Maine Ave. SW as of August, with office hours of 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Monday through Friday. For information on the upcoming vacancy, becoming a member, or volunteering at Waterfront Village, call 202-656-1834.