CASA's Executive Director of 26 Years to Retire
TUESDAY, JUNE 2, 2015 - CASA, Inc. announces the retirement of its Executive Director, Linda Osmundson. Osmundson has been the Executive Director of south Pinellas County’s domestic violence center for 26 years.
Over the decades, Osmundson has spoken openly about her personal experience as a survivor of domestic violence and how it has propelled her to do the work she does. She’s been a leader in a movement that began more than 40 years ago, serving as a director of programs in Gainesville and West Palm Beach. Osmundson started at CASA with a staff of seven in a small home, and has lead the growth of the organization to a 100-bed facility opening at the end of this month, an outreach center in Downtown St. Petersburg, transitional housing, and 80 employees.
“Linda has been a champion for domestic violence victims in our community for decades,” says Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri. “Her work has saved lives and ensured that domestic violence victims and their children have a safe place to stay and get the services they need to get them out of abusive environments. Linda is a hero to many for her tireless efforts on behalf of these vulnerable victims.”
Linda Osmundson has been a well-known figure in the St. Petersburg area, dedicating her time to many other organizations and her church. “She’s been an amazing mentor and leader to so many other leaders in this community,” states Nick McDevitt, CASA’s Board President. “I am so grateful that I have been able to serve with her and learn from her. She leaves behind one of the greatest gifts this community has, a safe place for survivors and their children.” Under Osmundson’s leadership, the organization pioneered substance-abuse treatment for victims and, in 1996, opened a supervised visitation center. In 1997, the program established a 14-unit transitional-housing program for families preparing for independent living and began its Peacemakers Program for pre-school and middle-school students.
Osmdunson co-founded the state’s clemency movement for battered women, which sought pardons for women who had been sent to prison for defending themselves. For this, she received the Florida Governor’s first “Peace at Home” Award. She has been a strong voice on the task force for battered women and children, working with prosecutors, law enforcement, judges and health care professionals — her role has been invaluable. Osmundson has also helped the battered-women’s movement in other countries. She’s presented at numerous conferences, traveling to Bogotá, Prague, Russia, China, India, Cyprus, Japan, Singapore, Myanmar, and Australia. Her dedication to the community has been felt in so many ways.
Linda Osmundson’s retirement will be effective June 30, 2015, as CASA celebrates the opening of their new 100-bed shelter. CASA’s Assistant Executive Director, Shandra Riffey, will serve as Acting Executive Director on July 1.
“With the opening of our new shelter, I have such a proud legacy to leave behind,” says Osmundson. “I cannot imagine a day I will feel more accomplished than the day our first family moves in. I look at this organization and all it has accomplished and I feel joy, and a sense of peace knowing all it will continue to bring to this community for decades to come.”
Immediate Acting Executive Director, CASA