Spotlight on Etta Ward, Board of Directors

The Villages is honored to have Etta Ward serve on our Board of Directors for 12 years. Etta is Assistant Vice Chancellor for Research Development at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI). She was recently named a Fulbright Scholar with the Council for International Exchange for Scholars and will travel to France this Fall as part of the program. We took the time to speak with Etta and learn more about her experience with The Villages and her commitment to serving children and families.

What has been your most rewarding experience while serving as a board member for The Villages?
The most rewarding experience so far has been having the privilege and opportunity to be part of efforts to advocate for and support adoptive and foster families in lasting and meaningful ways. I am honored to be part of an organization recognized nationally as a leader in its field of work and appreciate our commitment to the high quality of service. I am always proud to say that approximately nine out of 10 children in The Villages’ foster care remain in one home and family. That warms my heart.

What keeps you passionate about serving at The Villages?
Before serving on the Board, I had family members who were foster parents. I was always impressed by their ability to genuinely open their hearts and homes to welcome in and care for some of our most vulnerable populations. In fact, my husband and I were closely involved with meeting some of the needs of these children. Many of them are adults now and remain connected. They consider us their forever family. This keeps me motivated and passionate about the work we do. I know how life-changing and sometimes life-saving this work is.

One thing I would like people to know about foster parenting is…
It is one of the most honorable and important commitments a person or families can make. It is a huge responsibility to step into this role, but it is one that brings a lifetime of joy and sense of true purpose. Yes, there are challenges and problems that come with this responsibility. But the fact that you are able to deeply and positively impact a person’s development and future is profoundly rewarding.

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92% of every dollar goes directly to our kids.