The end of an era is approaching for longtime The Family Place CEO Paige Flink, who will retire in 2021.
According to a press release, Flink’s journey with TFP – a Dallas-based nonprofit advocating and caring for victims of domestic violence – began in 1989 as a volunteer. She has been on staff since 1991, when she started as the director of Community Education. Since then, Flink has progressed through the organization as director of Development and then, in 1997, executive director, which was later rebranded to CEO.
In her 24 years of executive leadership for TFP, Flink says she has seen Dallas grow to pay much more attention to the community problem that is domestic and family violence.
“Domestic violence really became an issue that the community was willing to address during the mid-’90s,” Flink recalled. “It went from being a family secrete to a community problem that people realized affected them in ways that were not just between a couple in their household.”
Flink has also seen laws meant to stop domestic violence improve, including a change in the Dallas Police Department policy to ensure an arrest is made in a home any time there is a violent episode.
“We have gained allies and partners in trying to make it an issue that we could prevent as opposed to respond to,” Flink said.
The size of the TFP operation has changed significantly in Flink’s tenure. When she began, the organization had one small counseling office, one shelter and a $3 million annual budget. In the past three decades, the nonprofit has grown to three shelters, three counseling offices, a $14 million annual budget, and a new supervised visitation and exchange program.
Flink looks forward to watching the efforts against domestic violence grow during her retirement, and seeing TFP get back to full operations after being restricted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Many clients of the organization were afraid to visit or couldn’t in 2020 for risk of viral spread, and virtual counseling of someone suffering from domestic abuse in a home in nearly impossible.
Flink says the generosity of the community has helped TFP through the pandemic.
“We were able to continue our services because the community supported us financially so greatly and recognized how dangerous and hard it would be to be trapped in your home,” she said. “It was so amazing and heartwarming that that’d be an outcome of this. People who had never given money to us before ever found what we did to be so compelling that they that they gave money. 2020 was hard for all of us. Every day was different and challenging and scary, but it was heartwarming at the end of this year just to see how much people really believe that what we do is important. We can’t solve this by ourselves, but with the help of the community we can really make an impact.”
Flink will miss the relationships with the TFP staff and board members, and all of the courageous women she’s met along the way.
“Seeing their success if what motivates me the most,” said the CEO. In her retirement, Flink will continue to raise a $20 million endowment for TFP for long-term financial security. “That’s my last hope, that I can raise the $20 million and leave this place so financially sound that, if a tough time comes, it will be strong and survive.”
Victory Search Group leads the efforts to find Fink’s replacement. The longtime CEO continues to remain involved in the leadership transition process.
“Over the last 30 years, Paige has been instrumental in educating and changing public perception, including the North Texas community’s response to family violence,” TFP Board President Harold Ginsburg said. “When she started with the organization, The Family Place had 38 employees and four facilities. Today it has more than 190 employees and eight facilities. She’s grown this organization into a national model, always putting the client first.”