40 Stories - Nancy Friauf

Our Fearless Leader

Nancy Friauf has served Atlanta’s nonprofit community for more than 35 years. She began her career serving as the shelter manager for the Council on Battered Women, which later changed its name to Partnership Against Domestic Violence. Nancy then spent the next phase of her life overseeing the battered women’s and rape crisis program at the YWCA of Cobb County, then as the Executive Director of the Gwinnett Children Shelter for 17 years, then the Executive Director of Genesis Shelter.  In December 2015 Nancy came full circle in her career and joined Partnership Against Domestic Violence as the President and CEO.

When Nancy joined PADV in 1979 she knew she wanted work in the social service field.  Nancy’s desire to move people to safe and violence-free lives coupled with a strong commitment to the goals of equality and respect coming from the women’s movement helped drive Nancy towards domestic violence work. 

While at Genesis, a shelter for homeless newborn babies and their children, Nancy successfully initiated and took the agency through a merger.  While Nancy knew doing so would put her out of a job, she also knew it was the best way to preserve Genesis’ desperately needed services. After the merger the door opened for her to return to PADV as the new President and CEO.  Nancy’s commitment to the work has not diminished.  “It’s a gift to work for a staff that gives so much of themselves and that is so committed. It’s a gift to see children be children. It’s a gift to have women come up and say we have changed their lives. It’s a gift to have people give so generously and its humbling to have so many people counting on you to do this job the best way possible.” Nancy is most proud of the fact that PADV tackles the issue of domestic violence on so many different fronts.  “PADV is there for women when they call at 3 am, or the woman that comes to shelter on Saturday with nothing but the clothes on her back and her child in her arms.  We are there for teens at the teen summit to help them create safe and healthy relationships, and we are in the courthouse helping scared women get TPOs.  As an organization, we are always striving for what else can we be doing to positively impact this horrific crime.”

Nancy wants people to know that “even though we deal with a heavy issue we are a positive place.  Staff looks out for each other and we celebrate even the little, positive changes in people’s lives.  We are a place of warmth and care and celebration whenever possible. Every day we are the light and the hope.”

If you are currently living in a domestic violence relationship Nancy says, “Believe in yourself and know that you are special and wonderful.  Know that it’s not ok to be treated the way you are being treated.  There is a beautiful and joyful life waiting for you and we will do everything we can to help you get there.”