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 84 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 to expand the possibilities for aging, while our mission is to improve lives through communities, services, and outreach. This vision includes the broader population of Western North Carolina and the residents within our Givens Communities organization.
Expanding the possibilities for aging
Improving lives through communities,
services, and outreach
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.
Neal joined Givens Communities in January, 2022. He comes to us with 35 years of experience in the healthcare + senior living arenas. Neal started his career as the Administrative Director of Admission Services, for a 355 bed acute care hospital, before transitioning into the role of VP of Sales and Marketing for one of the nation’s largest skilled nursing companies. After 20 years working with for-profit companies, Neal transitioned to SVP of Outreach and Program Development for a non-profit Hospice + Palliative Care organization. It was there he discovered his passion for the non-profit world. Later, Neal became SVP of a Medicare Advantage Plan Insurance company before transitioning into SVP of Sales, Chief Marketing Officer, and Chief Operating Officer roles, in two of the largest senior housing companies in America. He finally made his way back to the non-profit world in 2022, as Givens Communities VP of Sales and Marketing, and could not be happier! Neal earned his Bachelor’s degree in Marketing in 1987.
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.
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*
- Mrs. Sara-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