Community Works has named an interim director of victims' services, following last week's abrupt departure of longtime manager, Anna D'Amato.

Community Works has named an interim director of victims' services, following last week's abrupt departure of longtime manager, Anna D'Amato.

Barbara Johnson was selected to fill the interim slot because she has more than 25 years of experience working with companies and nonprofits in employment and consulting positions, said Ginger Lee, president and chief executive officer of the nonprofit that provides services for domestic abuse victims and at-risk youth.

"She is familiar with stepping into organizations to help assist them through periods of transition," Lee said. "Her experience equips her well to serve as the interim director for Victim Services."

D'Amato, longtime director of victims services for Community Works, resigned Feb. 11. She could not be reached for comment. Lee declined last week to comment on the reason for D'Amato's departure, saying it was a personnel matter.

Johnson, a Medford resident, has been a supporter of Community Works since her arrival to the Rogue Valley in 1997. She completed her second term as a Community Works board member in June, Lee said.

"She is very familiar with our programs and staff. I am very pleased she accepted our offer," Lee said.

Lee stressed Johnson is providing her services on an interim basis, however.

"We are actively beginning the search for the new director, which we expect to have in place in the next few months," Lee said.

Johnson was not available for comment Monday.

Community Works' mission is to help those who have experienced domestic violence, sexual assault or sudden homelessness. Access to all its programs and services — from victim's services to the Lithia Springs school and residential care facilities — remain operational and available, she said.

"We are excited about the future, and about the growth of the organization so we can serve even more women, teens and families," Lee said.

In spring 2004, D'Amato stepped down as the first director of the Rogue Valley Habitat for Humanity to begin working a part-time position at Community Works. She handled the outreach program for Dunn House, a domestic violence shelter. D'Amato then became the organization's director of victims' services.

D'Amato and Lee spoke to the Mail Tribune in December about the looming "fiscal cliff" that threatened services to the elderly, disabled and poor. Community Works, like many organizations, relies heavily on government grants to pay the bills, along with donations and other community support. It receives about 80 percent of its $4 million annual budget from grants, they said.

Lee said the organization recently began a capital campaign that includes the creation of "The Giving Club." Club members' dues will provide unrestricted funds to help benefit Community Works' many programs, Lee said.

The Club Launch will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, March 14, at a local winery. It will be the first of two parties planned by the club in 2013.

For more information, contact Lee at 541-779-2393 x 227 or email her at

Reach reporter Sanne Specht at 541-776-4497 or e-mail