Anne Olivia Weeks is retiring on Dec. 31 as president and chief executive officer (CEO) of Mountain State Centers for Independent Living and the center’s fundraising arm, the Foundation for Independent Living.
Weeks has been involved with the center since before it first opened in 1981. She implemented the original grant for funding to establish the Huntington Center for Independent Living. In 1983, she was hired by the board of directors to assume the responsibilities of executive director of the Huntington Center for Independent Living (HCIL).
In 1987, Weeks was successful in a national competition to establish additional CILs. On June 1, 1988, the Beckley Center for Independent Living opened, operating under the HCIL board with new board members from Beckley.
In 1991, the centers merged their names and became Mountain State Centers for Independent Living (MTSTCIL), and the board of directors made Weeks a voting member of the board as president and CEO.
On the advice of the regional office of the Rehabilitation Services Administration, Weeks and the MTSTCIL board of directors established the Foundation for Independent Living in 1991. The Foundation was to be chartered to be the fundraising arm of Mountain State Centers for Independent Living. One of the first actions of the Foundation was to purchase the building at 821 4th Ave. to house the center in Huntington.
With the 1992 amendments to the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the West Virginia Division of Rehabilitation Services was required to create the statewide Independent Living Council, a partner in developing independent living services in West Virginia. Weeks became the first chairperson of the West Virginia Statewide Independent Living Council and currently holds the position of council chair for the third time. Weeks is also vice-chair of the Tri-State Literacy Council.
On behalf of the Statewide Independent Living Council, Weeks fought for and won their status as an independent non-profit corporation with a 501©(3) designation from the IRS. She also established the Council’s office and hired the executive director to ensure the Statewide Independent Living Council would have the necessary support and leadership for its role in independent living in West Virginia.
Over the years, Weeks has been recognized for her work in the independent living movement and was a charter inductee into the West Virginia Independent Living Hall of Fame. The honor was bestowed on her by the West Virginia Statewide Independent Living Council at the Disability Caucus held in July of 2002.
After retirement, Weeks will be continuing her work as an advocate in the West Virginia Independent Living network.