The Service League of San Mateo County named longtime employee and interim director Karen Francone to permanently take up the reins of the nonprofit which administers programs preparing and transitioning jail inmates back into society.
Francone has been involved with the Service League since 1990 when she helped launch the organization’s first Hope House which gives recently released female inmates an intensive residential substance abuse treatment program before reuniting with their families and the community. She has been director of the Hope House program since 1997, working to expand to six houses and offer transitional housing opportunities.
“Karen is already such an essential component of this organization and we are very excited that she’ll be working in this role,” said Mike Scanlon, president of the board of directors, in a prepared statement.
The decision came after a nationwide search to replace former executive director and county supervisor Mike Nevin who served six years before his December 2012 death from esophageal cancer. Scanlon cited Francone’s “instrumental” work with Nevin to make the Service League successful in the announcement of her naming.
In 2010, the Service League honored Francone’s work by dedicating the Karen Marie Wellness Center which provides Hope House’s clients with a fully-equipped health and fitness facility.
Francone said she is “incredibly honored” by the new opportunity and chance to continue the organization’s work.
“Twenty years ago, I joined the Service League because I wanted to work hands-on to improve the lives of some of our community’ most vulnerable people. Today, I’m celebrating the success that we’ve had and embracing the chance to promote the Service League’s continued growth so that more and more people can benefit from our programs,” Francone said.