The Gladney Center for Adoption, a national leader in adoption services for 130 years, today announced the appointment of Mark Melson to be the nonprofit institution’s president and CEO.
Melson’s appointment is effective Jan. 1, stated Christopher Dezzi, Gladney’s board chairman, in a press release.
“Mark Melson is the right man at the right time for Gladney,” Dezzi stated. “Our board has been focusing on all the issues related to future planning and succession. Mark was recently appointed as the chief operating officer for Gladney. His service in that position, as well as his work as vice president for development, proved his solid operational and leadership abilities. We all look forward to Gladney’s next generation of leadership and growth under Mark.”
Longtime leader Frank Garrott, who has an extraordinary record of success furthering Fort Worth-based Gladney’s mission, stated he had been contemplating retirement since late summer and informed Dezzi about the decision last month. In a letter to Gladney’s supporters and staff, Garrott described his 10-year tenure at the organization as a “challenging, wonderful and joyful” period of time.
“It has truly been an honor and privilege to work with everyone in the Gladney family,” Garrott stated, “and people are right when they tell me, it’s the best job in the world. “There’s a time for everything, and for me, it’s a time to take up the next challenge and move on to the next chapter of my life.”
Dezzi praised Garrott’s accomplishments, saying his compassion, dedication and wisdom were vital during some opportune and critical moments in the organization’s history.
“Not only has Gladney grown its mission to place thousands of children in loving homes,” Dezzi stated. “He has also established innovative and far-reaching outreach efforts, such as the groundbreaking Pathways program as well as the Next Steps initiative that supports birth mothers. In addition, we have expanded our mission with the creation of both AdoptED and Gladney University. Frank has an extraordinary legacy here, and we will miss him personally and professionally.”
Gladney has placed more than 31,000 children internationally and domestically in forever homes and served over 38,000 birth parents since 1887. The agency also maintains the largest, most comprehensive maternity home in the United States.
Melson expressed his appreciation for the appointment.
“It’s an honor to stand on the shoulders of those who came before me and lead this great organization,” Melson stated in the release. “After almost 10 years at Gladney I have seen how adoption has touched the lives of thousands of families, and as a Gladney Parent I have personally witnessed the miracle of adoption in my own home. I’m excited about our future and building on Gladney’s great legacy.”
Garrott stated he hopes to “travel the world” after leaving Gladney, and he pledged to continue supporting Gladney and its mission.
“It will be hard to leave,” Garrott stated. “I love Gladney. The agency provided for me personally because I am a Gladney parent. There are no words for the gratitude that I feel. When visualizing the end of the year, I know when I walk out the door, there will be a lump in my throat the size of a grapefruit.”