The Givens Communities story covers four decades, beginning with the generosity of Marion Givens and her husband, Dr. Maurice Givens. The Givens were charitable people who donated to hospitals, universities, and museums. Marion Givens treasured her summer months cooling off at their home in the western North Carolina mountains of Asheville.
During her final years, with the help of a few trusted advisors, she arranged to leave 160 acres of her Asheville estate on Sweeten Creek Road with the stipulation it would be developed into a retirement community. After her death, the Marion… J. Givens Trust worked with leaders in the Western North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church to establish Givens Estates.
In 1979, the flagship community of Givens Estates consisted of 78 one-and two-bedroom apartments within ten buildings, partly funded through the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Now, four distinct senior living communities, outreach ministries, and partnerships support older adults and their families. An all-volunteer board of directors approved by the United Methodist Conference governs the Givens organization.
Givens’ relationship with the WNC United Methodist Church and the Marion J. Givens Trust has remained constant throughout four decades of exponential growth. The Givens’ initial generosity has continued to provide a solid foundation for growth and development across four decades. The Givens story continues to unfold and has had an impact on more lives for decades to come.
Givens provides more than four walls and a roof to our residents. The communities offer rich and meaningful experiences and support services that empower residents to maintain independence.
Givens’s affordable communities address homelessness, food insecurities, and health and wellness in a clean and safe environment. Residents live fully and enjoy meaning in life.
Visionary leadership, a culture of service and giving back, and maintaining our values all contribute to the organization’s achievements and leadership status in the community.
Givens’ vision is Endless Possibilities, Vibrant Aging, while our mission is Creating Community, Empowering Lives. This vision and mission includes the broader population of Western North Carolina and the residents within our Givens Communities organization.
Endless Possibilities, Vibrant Aging
Creating Community, Empowering Lives
We promote inclusivity by aligning our words with our actions. Givens Communities treats each person with dignity and respect and welcomes all as valued community members. Diverse viewpoints inspire growth and make us stronger. We love and appreciate the various voices and perspectives that contribute to our organization.
In 2014, the Givens Communities Board of Directors adopted an ongoing organization-wide diversity and inclusion strategic plan. From this, we have created an Inclusion Committee that meets several times a year and leads efforts to ensure that communities are equitable for our residents and team members. In addition to the Inclusion Committee, dedicated Task Forces work on specific areas of focus.
Givens’ leadership team is forward-thinking and strategic as they approach the evolving concept of aging successfully. The executive team is skilled in leading a complex business and organization while delivering quality care and service to residents in the four communities.
Kevin has more than twenty-seven years of finance, accounting, investment, and operations experience in various industries. Mr. Schwab joined Givens Communities in 2021. Supported by a senior management team and department managers, Mr. Schwab is responsible for the overall organization, which serves approximately 1,550 residents and currently employs more than 500 full and part-time staff. Along with the senior management team, he is responsible for Givens Estates, a Life Plan Community in Asheville; Great Laurels, an affordable community for seniors in Waynesville; Highland Farms, a Life Plan Community in Black Mountain; Gerber Park, an affordable and middle-income community for seniors in Asheville; and LifeMinistries, a community-based, health-focused outreach program. Before joining Givens Communities, Mr. Schwab was most recently the CEO of St. Camillus (Milwaukee, WI) since 2016 and has worked at St Camillus for over twenty years in multiple capacities, previously as CFO and COO. Kevin earned a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting from Marquette University and a Master’s in Business Administration from the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee.
Allen has been Chief Financial Officer since 1995. He is responsible for the financial
operations of the Corporation, including the annual operating budget, financial reporting, forecasts,
third party reimbursement, etc. Allen is a Certified Public Accountant. He serves on the Investment
Committee of the United Methodist Foundation of Western North Carolina, Inc., and the Finance
Committee of LeadingAge North Carolina. Prior to coming to Givens, Allen was Assistant
Controller for a hospital in Grundy, Virginia, Chief Financial Officer for a psychiatric hospital in
Hickory, North Carolina; and Senior Auditor for Deloitte and Touche. He is a graduate of
Appalachian State University with a BA in Business Administration.
As Givens Communities’ Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Neal promotes competitive positioning and better brand experiences. Neal leads a team focused on extending the Givens brand via partnerships, connections, content, and transformational experiences, drawing on his knowledge and skills in marketing and sales. By implementing systems, tools, and processes which are consistent with Given’s Mission, Vision, and Values, Neal’s leadership allowed his team to exceed all-time census and occupancy objectives.
Neal joins us with 35 years of revenue generating expertise in healthcare and senior living. In both the for-profit and non-profit sectors, he has held the positions of Administrative Director, Vice President, Senior Vice President, Chief Marketing Officer, and Chief Operating Officer. Neal received his Bachelor of Business Administration degree in 1987.
Teresa Stephens has directed Givens Affordable Housing since 2010. She joined the Givens staff in 2005 as Coordinator of Buncombe Medication Assistance Ministry, became Development Assistant in 2006, and HUD Coordinator and Executive Assistant in 2007. Her affordable housing certifications include NCP-E, SCS, CPO, and AHM. She is licensed as a North Carolina Real Estate Broker. Ms. Stephens is responsible for Givens Affordable Communities consisting of Givens Gerber Park 180 Tax Credit/HUD 202/Section 8 apartments and 82 middle income apartments in Asheville and Givens Great Laurels at Lake Junaluska a community of 64 Tax Credit apartments and 36 HUD 202/Section 8 apartments. She is currently serving as a member of the LeadingAge NC Board of Directors. Her previous work experience was as Community Care Coordinator as well as advertising and marketing. Ms. Stephens has a Master of Science degree in Gerontology, Management of Aging Services from the University of Massachusetts/Boston and a BFA from Western Carolina University.
Richard’s 23-year career in technology has been dedicated serving different levels of HealthCare organizations in both Rural and urban environments. Richard has served in the leadership role for two healthcare organizations over the past 16 years. Richard’s personal mission in Technology during his career has been to ensure that any application of technology improves the resident’s, patient’s, and staff members lives as well as successfully meeting the organizations implementation needs, goals, or compliance. Outside of his career Richard has served on various community Boards, provides content and support to several healthcare conferences such as HIMSS and LeadingAge. When the opportunity arises Richard enjoys volunteering to helping smaller organizations make sound decisions with their limited IT resources.
Christian is a millennial leader that brings HR knowledge along with generational insight and energy into HR leadership. Christian is part of the Givens leadership team, bringing strategic and innovative ideas to life to continuously improve the work environment through leadership development, effective partnering and support of colleagues, culture initiatives, and DEI task forces. Christian holds a Master’s degree in human resources management from Western Carolina University and a Bachelor’s degree is Music Performance from the University of North Carolina Asheville. She is PHR certified through the Human Resources Standards Institute. Christian started at Givens part-time as a Programming Assistant, working with residents in Assisted Living while completing Master’s degree. She was then promoted to the Administrative Assistant Position supporting Human Resources, Financial Operations and Technology post Master’s degree. When Givens Highland Farms was acquired, Christian moved into the HR Manager position supporting Givens Estates, and when the former Human Resources Director retired, she was promoted into the Vice President of Human Resource role overseeing Human Resources function for all campuses.
Brian Guengerich is a Native of Asheville, North Carolina and graduated from Montreat College with a degree in Human Services in 2006. He started his career at the Salvation Army Boys and Girls Club in Asheville, eventually becoming the organization’s Chief Executive Officer. Brian then went to work for the National Boys & Girls Club, as the Director of Organizational Development and eventually secured a staff position at Montreat College as the Vice President for Advancement. He comes to Givens with 15+ years of non-profit experience. Brian lives in Black Mountain with his wife Danielle and their three boys; Davin, Pax and Tate.
David Smith has been Associate Director at Givens Estates since 2021 and is currently serving as the Interim Executive Director. He served as Facilities Director from 2018-2021 and Grounds Director from 2005-2018. In his Facilities role, Mr. Smith was responsible for maintaining over 200 acres of property and over one million square feet of building space. His responsibilities as Associate Director include the areas of Independent Living Life Enrichment, Environmental Services, and Facility Services.
Mr. Smith serves as a local scout leader, volunteer and former Trustee with the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy. He has a B.S. in Ecology and Environmental Biology from Appalachian State University.
Ken is a graduate of the Miami University of Ohio. He has over 25 years’ experience working in the retirement community industry. He began his career with Maple Knoll Village in Cincinnati, Ohio. From there he spent seven years with Immanuel Health Systems in Omaha, Nebraska. As Wellness Director, he managed the Wellness Center and program for their Lakeside Community and led the development of Wellness Centers for three of their six communities. In 2005 Ken joined Givens Estates as their Wellness Director and led the development of their new Wellness Center and continued to build their wellness program. In July of 2014, Ken took the role of Associate Director of Givens Highland Farms and in March 2015 became Executive Director after the retirement of the previous Executive Director. Ken has led, and continues to lead, the GHF campus through an aggressive Master Plan. Ken currently serves on the Montreat College President’s Advisory Council, SVCM Endowment Committee, Black Mountain Swannanoa Chamber Board and the Mission Hospital Board of Trustees.
Jessie’s passion for aging services began when she trained as a Certified Nursing Assistant in High School. During Jessie’s undergraduate studies at DePaul University, she interned with the Givens’ HR team where she first learned about our mission, vision and values. She later joined Givens Highland Farms as their HR Manager. Before Brexit, she moved to England to pursue her MSc in International Health Management from Imperial College London. Following her studies, she joined Elder, the UKs largest live-in care agency as their Operations Manager. She returned to NC in ’22 to rejoin Givens Communities as our Executive Director of Home and Community Based Services.
A native of Polk County, Erin’s career in aging began at 16 as a Certified Nursing Assistant at Autumn Care of Saluda. Erin is a graduate of Lenoir Rhyne University and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro where she obtained a MS in Gerontology and Non-Profit Administration. Her professional career began after college with Lutheran Services for the Aging and Carol Woods Retirement Community, two nationally recognized providers of non-profit aging services in North Carolina. As a recipient of the Somers Research Internship on Long-Term Care and Aging from the National Academy of Social Insurance, Erin spent part of 2006 at LeadingAge National as a research intern. This ignited her passion for the planning and evaluation of aging services. After 10 years at the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services as a Program Evaluator and Manager, Erin and her family came home to Western North Carolina. As a Quality Improvement Specialist with the NC Quality Improvement Organization, Alliant Health, Erin worked with aging service providers across 25 Western most counties. She joined Givens Estates in 2018 as the Independent Living Life Enrichment Department Director, a newly formed department that merged 3 pre-existing departments. In 2022, Erin volunteered to participate on the exploratory committee of a Continuing Care at Home program, a concept she has been interested in since graduate school. Erin was named Executive Director of Givens Choice in November 2022. Erin and her husband Wilkes live in Henderson County with their 3 young sons.
Board of Directors
- Mrs. Kathryn M. Atkinson
- Rev. Dr. Robert M. Blackburn, Jr.
- Mrs. Donna A. Broadwell
- Ms. Alisa J. Brown
- Mrs. Kathryn R. Durity
- Rev. Karen L. Easter-Bayne
- Mr. Adam K. Ennis
- Ms. Murphy Horn Fletcher
- Mr. Charles L. Frederick
- Mr. Larry B. Harris
- Mr. Miles K. Hoffman
- Mr. Horace S. Jennings
- Dr. Margaret A. Kuhn
- Dr. Suzanne E. Landis
- Mrs. Rebekah M. Lowe
- Mr. William W. Mance
- Mrs. Connie B. Martin
- Mr. Joseph P. McGuire
- Mr. F. Patrick McGuire
- Mr. Robert M. McKown
- Mr. Russell Moxley
- Dr. Judy L. Phillips
- Mr. Charles Pine
- Rev. W. Mark Ralls
- Mr. Robby Russell
- Mr. Robert E. Shepherd*
- Ms. Sarah-Ann Smith
- Mr. Hal F. Starnes*
- Mr. Kenneth W. Swayze, Jr.
- Mr. G. Edward Towson, II
- Rev. Dr. R. Keith Turman
- Mr. Alfred J. Whitesides, Jr.*
* Honorary Life Member