Greetings from Michele Blackwell, EDI’s New Executive Director
I am excited to serve Easy Does It and its community, and it’s my honor to engage with the challenges of our current times as a leader and ally. My goal, as tasked by the EDI Board of Directors, is to chart a new path that will protect EDI’s crucial mission into the foreseeable future while honoring the spirit of independence and resilience at its foundation.
It has been my privilege to be a part of this community these past few months. At the heart of EDI is a talented and dedicated team of attendants, drivers, technicians, dispatchers, and office staff who work diligently every day to provide seniors and people with disabilities the services and support they deserve.
Supporting seniors and people with disabilities so that they can live independently is my calling and improving the systems and processes that support them has become my passion and expertise.
I have been the in-home caregiver for a family member with Alzheimer’s disease and worked in social services for nearly 30 years in organizations that help people live healthy and independent lives. Most recently, I was the Associate Director of Resident Services at Resources for
Community Development, an affordable housing developer in Berkeley. Before that, I worked for the State of Oregon providing in-home accessibility modifications for kids. I have also managed in-home care services at JFCS Portland and in-home care Registry services for IHSS recipients in Alameda County.
In each of these roles, my work centered on supporting teams to provide excellent service, connect with government and non-profit resources, build positive relationships, and contribute to the health, safety, and independence of those we served.
I take great pride in being part of an organization that provides vital services that enable people to live independently and thrive. And I believe an updated and reinvigorated EDI will be more capable of creating lasting solutions for our growing and changing community.
My commitment is to work alongside our board, staff, and community to build upon EDI’s legacy and successes and maintain responsiveness to those we serve. But these are challenging times for non-profits and looking toward the future is the key if we are to continue to meet the community’s needs and expectations.
My priorities begin with strengthening EDI as an organization, and much of that attention is currently on long term sustainability. EDI’s business processes and systems are under review to ensure we’re keeping up with best practices and technological advances. This important work will allow EDI to meet our current obligations and to pursue new funding to expand our vital safety net services.
My sincerest thanks to EDI’s Board, staff, partners, and clients for the warm welcome I have received.
Working together, I genuinely believe that we can retain what has made EDI a pillar of independent living in Berkeley, expanding access and continuing to elevate the quality of service we provide.