The Menlo Park-based nonprofit LifeMoves, which is the largest network providing services, shelter and resources to unhoused people on the Peninsula, announced local nonprofit leader Aubrey Merriman as its new CEO on Feb. 9.
Merriman, who lives in San Jose with his wife and three children, most recently worked as CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of North San Mateo County. Previously, he also worked as executive director for Camp Fire USA in Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties and Summer Search Silicon Valley, and spent 12 years with Special Olympics Northern California and Nevada where he became chief development officer.
After 25 years working in the nonprofit world, he said, he is excited to lead an organization that "comes to the real questions of our time" and "has an ethical clarity and a balance between being ambitious and humble."
Merriman graduated from the Stanford Graduate School of Business' Executive Program for Nonprofit Leaders and holds an undergraduate degree in psychology from Hawaii Pacific University and a master's degree in social work from the University of Hawaii.
LifeMoves, formerly known as InnVision Shelter Network, has 24 shelter and service sites between Daly City and San Jose and provides shelter, food, services and clothing to up to 1,200 people each night.
The nonprofit's former CEO, Bruce Ives, announced plans to retire last year, and since then, the organization has undergone an extensive search process to find its new leader, said LifeMoves board chair Joe Stockwell in an interview. The process involved forming a search committee led by community leaders and working with the search firm m/Oppenheim, according to a statement.
"As I step down, LifeMoves is in a very strong position for Aubrey to take it to new heights," Ives said in a press statement. "From the moment I met Aubrey, I was impressed by his deep experience, significant accomplishments, and can-do attitude. His leadership style and warm personality are a great fit for LifeMoves culture."
One major initiative for the nonprofit over the next year is to launch a new shelter in the works in Mountain View. Through a $12.4 million grant through the state's Project Homekey program and a partnership with the city of Mountain View, LifeMoves plans to provide transitional housing for 12 families and 88 individuals, or a total of 124 people, by transforming a 1-acre property at 2566 Leghorn St. into a 100-unit modular housing complex.
The units, set to be roughly 80 to 100 square feet in size, will be prefabricated, and tenants will be provided with case management services focused on helping them find permanent housing. Construction is currently underway, and the project is expected to be completed in the spring.
While in the long run, Stillman said, "it's housing that we need," the transitional housing is a key to help people safely get back on their feet.
Merriman, who said he's toured the construction site and was impressed, noted that LifeMoves' model, pairing shelter with support services, has potential to be replicated in other communities.
In addition to the interim housing site in Mountain View, LifeMoves is also working on a number of initiatives aimed at tackling homelessness, including offering safe parking for households living in recreational vehicles in Redwood City and San Jose, Stillman said.
LifeMoves, Merriman said, is at an inflection point as an organization. Over the past five years, it has undergone a significant amount of growth as the need for homeless services continues. Merriman said he was eager to "grow, learn and lead in this organization and build people and systems to turn this inflection point into a launch pad."
"Aubrey's experience, his passion and his voice are in the right place at the right time for this agency," Stillman added.
"The opportunity to lead this organization that's been doing some incredible work, to amplify its community impact – that offer was deeply profound to me," Merriman said. "That's what brings me to LifeMoves."
Kevin Forestieri contributed to this report.