May 25, 2018
Salem Nonprofit Fires ED Amid Theft Charge, Names New ED

Paula Herrington
January 24, 2017 — Healing Abuse, Working for Change, a Salem-based nonprofit that provides services and support to victims of domestic abuse, last week fired its new executive director after learning of theft charges lodged against her in Texas, and named Paula Herrington as its permanent executive director.

The board of a Healing Abuse Working for Change (HAWC) announced that it voted on last Thursday to terminate Rachel Morgan, who had recently been hired by the domestic violence agency in anticipation that she would be assuming the role of executive director.

Linda Puopolo, board president, said, “The allegation was devastating news for HAWC. In spite of extensive due diligence in the hiring process, nothing was disclosed that would have raised any concerns of this nature.

"My fellow board members and I are shocked and saddened by this information. We are grateful to have a strong leader in Paula, who is deeply committed to HAWC’s mission to create social change by taking action against personal and societal patterns of violence and oppression."

The board noted, "This action comes amid charges alleging Morgan had committed theft at her previous employer, the Grayson Crisis Center out of Sherman, Texas."

Morgan had started at the agency in early January but had not yet assumed any executive director responsibilities during the transition.

The Boston Globe yesterday reported, "The arrest warrant charges Morgan with a single count of theft over $2,500 and under $30,000, the lowest class of felony under Texas law, according to Sherman Police Sergeant D.M. Hampton."

Herrington said HAWC has not experienced any service interruption as a result of the leadership turnover, noting, “To survivors, our message is clear: HAWC is a valuable resource to those experiencing domestic violence, and we are here to serve you.”

Herrington had served as HAWC’s interim director since last April after Anthony DiPietro stepped down after two and a half years in the job to pursue a master's degree in poetry writing at Stony Brook University.

Herrington has more than two decades of nonprofit management experience, including 15 years of interim executive director service. She served in this role at HAWC following the departure of its longest-serving leader, Candace Waldron.

Other organizations where she served as interim executive director include Women's International League for Peace & Freedom, Facing Cancer Together, MassEquality, and Somerville Community Corporation.

She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in labor relations from McGill University and a Master of Business Administration degree in finance from Northeastern University.

Founded in 1978 as Help for Abused Women and their Children, HAWC today has a staff of 22 and a volunteer base of approximately 50 and operates in five locations from Saugus to Cape Ann. Among the services it provides are a 24-hour hotline, legal, hospital, and individual advocacy, emergency family shelter, and support groups.

For the year ending June30, 2015, HAWC reported $1.52 million in revenue, all of which came from contributions and grants, and $1.67 million in expenses, according to its most recently available federal tax filing.

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