Avenidas senior center head to step down | May 16, 2014 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - May 16, 2014

Avenidas senior center head to step down

President and CEO Lisa Hendrickson will work on nonprofit's plans to expand

by Jocelyn Dong

Lisa Hendrickson, president and CEO for the past 15 years of Avenidas, the Palo Alto senior-services nonprofit, has announced she will step down as the agency's leader to focus on Avenidas' plans for the future.

Those plans include the hopeful expansion of the nonprofit's Bryant Street center in downtown Palo Alto and ensuring that the 45-year-old organization "will meet the needs of the next generation," she said in an announcement.

"I'm excited that I will continue working at Avenidas, just in a different capacity," she stated.

During her tenure, the organization built the Avenidas Rose Kleiner Center for seniors in Mountain View, which provides both an adult day care program and a separate day health program for those needing medical and other assistance.

The center's opening in 2005, she said, was one of the highlights of her years at Avenidas.

"It was a thrill to build that special-purpose building," she told the Weekly.

Under her leadership, the group also launched Avenidas Village in 2007, a program that provides daily, weekly and on-call services to older adults so that they can continue living in their own homes as they age.

"We were at the forefront of the 'village' movement. We were the sixth in the country," she said of the service that offers everything from daily phone check-ins to transportation to skilled nursing.

Now, there are more than 100 village programs nationwide. Avenidas Village has a membership of 400 people.

Though the modernization plan is still in the concept phase, Hendrickson said, the intent is to expand the historic Bryant Street building where the nonprofit offers activities such as yoga, memoir-writing and ukulele jam sessions.

But there will be hurdles, she said. The Spanish Colonial Revival building, once the city's police station, is 87 years old and was designed by famed local architect Birge Clark.

"We need to respect the historic characteristics of the building," she said.

In addition, it is owned by the City of Palo Alto, not the nonprofit. Avenidas will need to secure a new and longer lease, as the current one will expire in 14 years — not enough time to justify the investment of an expansion, she said. But the organization is dedicated to the expansion project.

"We feel compelled to pursue it because one-third of all Palo Altans are 55 and older. We're bursting at the seams here," she said. The modernized space needs to be attractive to Baby Boomers, she added.

The Avenidas board of directors has hired executive search firm m/Oppenheim Associates to launch a national search for a new CEO for the agency, which has an operating budget of $4 million. Hendrickson said she expected it could take up to three months to find her successor but that whoever takes over will find the organization in good shape.

"The person who comes in is going to be in a great position to take it to the next level," she said, adding that part of her new job will be to mentor and train the new president and CEO.

Hendrickson, who was awarded the Chamber of Commerce's Athena Award for outstanding professional woman in 2002, is an active board member of AvidBank. She worked in banking for 21 years and retired as a senior vice president at Wells Fargo Bank in 1996, according to the announcement.

Editor Jocelyn Dong can be emailed at jdong@paweekly.com.


There are no comments yet for this post

Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: * Not sure?

Choose a category: *

Since this is the first comment on this story a new topic will also be started in Town Square! Please choose a category that best describes this story.

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields


2017 guide to summer camps

Looking for something for the kids to do this summer, learn something new and have fun? The 2017 Summer Camp Guide features local camps for all ages and interests.

Find Camps Here