Safe Berks CEO leaving after 15 years as leader

Mary Kay Bernosky, shown at a press conference in September 2018, is resigning as executive director of Safe Berks because she is moving to York County.

READING — The CEO of Safe Berks is stepping down after 15 years of leading the nonprofit group that provides shelter and support to survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault.

Mary Kay Bernosky's resignation was announced Thursday, Nov. 7, by the organization.

She will be moving to the York area and will work as vice president/chief development officer for the York County Community Foundation.

Bernosky, whose day will be Dec. 6, was not immediately available for comment.

Under Bernosky's leadership, the organization's shelter — Safe House — increased emergency housing capacity to 50 from 25, organization officials said.

Safe Berks also increased services to victims of sexual assault, outreach to college campuses, and expanded prevention programs and economic empowerment opportunities.

In 2016, Bernosky led the organization through the process of changing its name from Berks Women in Crisis to Safe Berks. And more recently she led the effort to establish the Medical Advocacy Partnership Program, which connects Safe Berks staff and services to local hospitals and health centers.

"Thanks to Mary Kay and her expert leadership during the past 15 years, Safe Berks has grown significantly in terms of staff, facilities, services to survivors and outreach to the community," said Nina Bohn, president of the Safe Berks board of directors.

"We will miss her tremendously," she said. "Due to her leadership, this life-saving nonprofit is strong, stable and positioned to continue its growth in bringing quality services to the Berks County community."

"Mary Kay Bernosky has been one of Berks County's best and most successful chief executive officers in any sector," said Kevin Murphy, Berks Community Foundation president. "Her leadership transformed a struggling organization into a stable, reliable source of support for some of our region's most endangered residents.

"Her relentless advocacy on behalf of the victims of domestic violence raised the community's level of awareness and commitment about this important issue."

Carolyn Holleran, a supporter of Safe Berks and founder of the Safe Berks PeaceTrust, said: "Her passionate commitment has provided our community a knowledgeable leader for all sufferers of domestic and sexual abuse. The impact of her legacy will be felt far into the future."

In addition to her devotion to helping those who endured domestic violence and sexual assault, Bernosky spread education and awareness to help prevent those acts, said Tammy White, United Way of Berks County president.

"She has been a powerful force by serving as a voice and advocate to ensure those impacted by domestic violence and sexual assault have the opportunity to heal," White said.

Safe Berks officials said the board is searching for a new CEO, but will first appoint an interim CEO to assist with the transition.

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