Age-Friendly Forsyth moves to nonprofit status, hires John Lee as executive director

Age-Friendly Forsyth moves to nonprofit status, hires John Lee as executive director
January 28
09:15 2023

By Judie Holcomb-Pack

In May 2018, Forsyth County joined six other North Carolina communities as the newest member of the Network of Age-Friendly Communities. Established in 2012, the AARP Network of Age-Friendly Communities, in affiliation with the World Health Organization, has developed a comprehensive program utilized in over 200 cities/communities in the United States. The overarching goal of the program is to promote livability for all ages and improve a community’s quality of life.

Communities that are accepted into this network commit to establish mechanisms to involve older people, conduct a baseline assessment of the age-friendliness of their community, as well as develop a community-wide action plan based on the assessment findings, and identify indicators to monitor progress. Since 2018, member partners of Age-Friendly Forsyth (AFF) have worked to determine the priority needs of older adults in our community and continue to coordinate and implement efforts locally with the focus on providing a framework where organizations and residents can more effectively work together to address the needs of aging adults.

In July 2022, Age-Friendly Forsyth received its nonprofit status from the IRS and moved from an advisory group to a board of directors. Supporting the board is the Community Engagement Council (CEC), volunteers who connect with seniors throughout the county to bring their concerns to the board. 

Recently AFF welcomed John Lee as their new executive director. Lee moved to Winston-Salem over three years ago and has spent much of his time getting to know Winston-Salem through his volunteer service. He has been especially interested in serving older adults by volunteering with Senior Services. 

Since joining AFF as executive director, Lee has been busy learning about the work of AFF, as well as Age Friendly communities nationally. He has been meeting individually with each board member to obtain their perspective on the work that’s been accomplished so far and what they see as opportunities for AFF to play a meaningful role in supporting the needs of our aging population. 

Lee has also been focusing on reorganizing and strengthening the CEC. “Consistent with its belief in engaging the aging population in its work, during its infancy AFF created a Community Engagement Council made up of individuals representing different areas of the county. 

“COVID had an impact on fully realizing the potential of the CEC,” Lee continued, “but it is our hope to take full advantage of this unique resource to understand the needs of the aging population and to advocate in support of efforts to address these needs.”

Prior to moving to Winston-Salem, Lee served as the director for the Center for Collaboration in Community Health in Rochester, New York. His background includes work in the hospital and behavioral health sectors. Lee received a B.S. degree in psychology from the State University of New York College at Cortland, and an MBA and certificate in health care administration from Cornell University.

Although Lee has only been on the job for a few weeks, when asked what he hopes to see AFF achieve in the future, he said, “There is a lot of support for AFF to build on the work done so far to play a significant role in the development of a data-driven master aging plan for our community and to effectively advocate for the needs that are identified.”

We’re fortunate that Forsyth County leaders are committed to a process of continual improvement to support active and healthy aging and to create a community where everyone can grow old with dignity and respect. With John Lee at the helm, a strong board and an active Community Engagement Council, Age-Friendly Forsyth is in a solid position as it continues to develop strategic plans for a community where people of all ages can live their best lives.

For more information about Age-Friendly Forsyth, visit

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