Holy Cross Ministries executive director Maria Farrington steps down
Maria Farrington was initially attracted to the work of Holy Cross Ministries because of its “unwavering dedication to those that are underserved.” She heard of the two sisters in the late 1800s who worked with injured miners in what would be later known as Park City and saw the impact that the nonprofit their efforts spawned continues to make in present day.
After being on the board of trustees for four years, she was named the president and executive director of the Holy Cross Ministries in 2015. On March 30, she will relinquish her role.
Farrington moved to Salt Lake City in 1992 from San Antonio and started going to church at the Holy Cross Chapel next to the formerly named Holy Cross Hospital. She came to know the sisters at the church, and they eventually asked her to join the nonprofit’s board of trustees. When the former executive director left, she stepped up.
Although the organization has its headquarters in Salt Lake City, Farrington said that the bulk of its work takes place in Park City, where it started an after-school program at the Park City School District and works with the People’s Health Clinic to offer services to its patients.
Farrington said that the nonprofit’s work in Park City to provide education and assistance to the underserved community is what she is most proud of.
During her time, Holy Cross Ministries’ after-school program combined with the district’s to create a single one. They also started a School Readiness program that includes Parents as Teachers, in which families are visited in their homes and trained on early childhood development. It was made possible through funding from the Park City Community Foundation and Park City Municipal Corporation.
“We just finished our pilot year and we are discussing the various partners of potential expansion,” she said. “I’m really very proud of that.”
Farrington said that the nonprofit has been able to start and continue so many programs because of partnerships within the community. But she said that, whenever a service is no longer needed, the nonprofit is open to let it go and focus on a different need.
“It is very rare to see an organization that can laser-focus on a need, do a lot of work in that need and, at the same time, really gather allies,” she said. “Not to own the solution, but to really get and hear different voices.”
Beth Armstrong, executive director of the People’s Health Clinic, said that the assistance that the Holy Cross Ministries provides to the clinic helps both of the nonprofits thrive, and that Farrington worked hard to maintain the partnership.
“I think she is an extraordinary woman,” she said. “She genuinely cares and is passionate about the work that she has done over the years.”
Holy Cross Ministries provides the clinic with a promotora, or Hispanic education outreach coordinator, to help clients receive information about Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) as well as educate prenatal mothers about having a healthy baby.
Patricia Sanders, director of development and communication for Holy Cross Ministries, said that Farrington’s expertise in the field helped make it possible for the organization to meet needs of families in the community that were not being met.
Before working for Holy Cross Ministries, Farrington worked at educational organizations such as Discovery Gateway and the Eccles Annenberg School Reform in the Salt Lake City School District.
A search committee is currently looking for her replacement, and Farrington said that she is excited to see where the new director takes the organization.
She currently serves as a trustee for Salt Lake Community College and as a member of the Tanner Board for Social Justice at the University of Utah. She plans to continue in those positions, as well as go on supporting Holy Cross Ministries and underserved and underrepresented individuals.
“I’m still in the game,” she said. “A lot of work has to be done by a lot of people and all of us have a part to play. I will continue to do that as well as I can.”
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