Key Leadership Changes for Established Lowcountry NonprofitCharleston, SC --- After two decades of leadership to the Johns Island-based nonprofit, Our Lady of Mercy Community Outreach, Sister Mary Joseph Ritter has assumed the role of General Superior with the Sisters of Charity of Our Lady of Mercy for the Charleston region. Jill Jackson Ledford will assume the role of executive director with Our Lady of Mercy Community Outreach.
"Even though I have assumed a new role with the Sisters of Charity, Our Lady of Mercy Community Outreach will always be close to my heart and I plan to remain an active part of its mission and the communities they serve," says Sister Mary Joseph. "It is truly an honor to have dedicated 20 years of my life to such a tremendous organization."
The Our Lady of Mercy Community Outreach board of directors initiated an extensive search to fill the role of executive director and after months of discussions and interview, Jill Jackson Ledford was selected to oversee the organization. Ledford has extensive experience in nonprofit and program management at the local, state and national level. Her appreciation for collaboration and partnerships among organizations was a key factor for her selection.
"We are truly blessed to have Mrs. Ledford to follow in Sister Mary Joseph's footsteps," shares Larry Iwan, board chair for Our Lady of Mercy Community Outreach. "As our new executive director, we are confident she will lead our board and staff in the spirit of the mission of service which the organization was founded."
Ledford previously served as vice president of health promotions with the National Council on Aging where she oversaw the Center for Healthy Aging. Prior to joining the national organization, Ledford was the founding executive director of the Lowcountry Senior Center, a facility managed by Roper St. Francis Healthcare and owned by the City of Charleston. She was instrumental in designing and managing the Charleston-based center – a facility that continues to be a model for senior centers. She also oversaw the Coastal Area Agency on Aging in Brunswick, Georgia and served as vice president of health promotion with the National Council of Aging. Ledford received a master's degree in social work from the University of South Carolina and is a master trainer in patient chronic disease self management – a program she completed from Stanford University.
"Our Lady of Mercy Community Outreach has an impressive reputation and I am excited and honored to have the opportunity to provide leadership for the organization," says Ledford. "I look forward to being a part of the continued mission of service to the community."
Ledford will assume the role of executive director for Our Lady of Mercy Community Outreach on October 1 of this year.
About Our Lady of Mercy Community Outreach
Founded in 1989, Our Lady of Mercy Community Outreach provides educational, health and direct outreach services to more than 11,000 people each year in the Lowcountry. There are two locations – one on Johns Island that serves the needs of James, Johns and Wadmalaw Island residents and one that is located in Charleston called the Neighborhood House that serves downtown-area residents. Our Lady of Mercy Community Outreach, sponsored by the Sister of Charity of Our Lady of Mercy, provides basic human needs while encouraging self-sufficiency and self-esteem through various programs including food and clothing services, dental and prenatal women's healthcare, English as a Second Language (ESL) and GED instruction, life skills classes, after-school tutoring and a summer enrichment camp. For more information, visit www.olmoutreach.org.
About Sisters of Charity of Our Lady of Mercy
Founded in 1829 by Charleston Bishop John England, the Sisters of Charity of Our Lady of Mercy are a religious community of women serving the Catholic Diocese of Charleston. Since then, the Sisters have provided educational, health services to the community, with a focus on the economically poor. The organization is dedicated to efforts that help build a sustainable, healthy economy, promote educational success, support stronger families and contribute to long-term community development. For more information, visit